First daughter Ivanka Trump’s company received approval from China to register three trademarks on the same day her father, President Donald Trump, agreed to lift sanctions against a Chinese telecommunications company, according to a government watchdog group.
China granted registration approval for the three Ivanka Trump Marks LLC trademarks on June 7, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found in a review of trademark database records on Wednesday. President Trump saved the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE from financial collapse the same day by lifting tough American sanctions, despite opposition from some of his advisers and Republicans.
“The questionable part of this is, is there any significance to the timing of when she got registration?” CREW spokesman Jordan Libowitz told Newsweek on Wednesday. “You can’t say that there’s quid pro quo behavior, but the timing does raise questions that everything is happening around the same time.”
Ivanka Trump’s company, from which she stepped down upon becoming a senior White House adviser but has not fully divested, has received eight trademark approvals since May, Libowitz said. Besides the three trademarks approved on June 7—which were applied for in July 2016 and include rights to baby blankets, bath mats and textiles—other approvals from China occurred close to the date the president agreed to lift sanctions on ZTE.
“You can say that it is suspicious that all of the [approvals] happened around the same time,” Libowitz said. “It may be a coincidence, but if it is, it’s a coincidence that could have easily been avoided, and quite frankly, they should have avoided. Both Trump and Ivanka should have sold their assets when they got into the White House.”
The Senate plans to challenge President Trump’s decision to lift sanctions with a measure in the annual defense bill that would essentially block the deal, The Washington Post reported earlier this month.
Ivanka Trump’s business was granted preliminary approval for three trademarks last year the same day she had dinner with President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago.
The Associated Press cast a wider net in its analysis of her trademark approvals in late May, reporting that she had been granted 13 within the previous three months.
Abigail Klem, president of Ivanka Trump’s company, said it has followed proper business protocol.
“The brand has filed, updated, and rigorously protected its international trademarks over the past several years in the normal course of business, especially in regions where trademark infringement is rampant,” Klem said in an emailed statement to Newsweek. “We have recently seen a surge in trademark filings by unrelated third parties trying to capitalize on the name and it is our responsibility to diligently protect our trademark.”