Ivanka Trump was granted five business trademarks in China earlier in May, just days before her father suddenly scrapped a US technology ban imposed on Chinese telecom firm ZTE, according to government documents.
The trademark approvals were dated May 7, a week before President Donald Trump extended an olive branch on ZTE in his trade tussle with China.
Chinese government documents revealing the trademarks were first publicised by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The US watchdog said the approvals, and other Trump family business connections to China, “raised potential ethics issues”.
An additional trademark received “first trial” approval on May 6, according to CREW.
The applications had been submitted in March 2017 and give Ivanka’s company trademark rights on goods including bath mats, textiles and baby blankets, CREW said.
Ivanka Trump serves as an adviser to her father yet still profits from her various branded products, of which China is a major supplier.
Her company, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, already holds more than a dozen trademarks in China and has multiple applications pending, CREW said.
Trump administration officials last month proposed a ban on sales of crucial American technology to ZTE, a giant Chinese telecom company that employs 80,000 people.
The ban was intended to be punishment for what US officials said were false statements by ZTE over actions it claimed to have taken regarding the illegal sale of goods to Iran and North Korea.
ZTE said the US move threatened it with collapse.
But Trump abruptly reversed course on May 13, announcing on Twitter that he had been working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help ZTE stay in business, partly to save Chinese jobs.
Trump’s accusations that Chinese trade practices were killing American jobs had been a staple of his campaign, and his reversal has left heads spinning in Washington.
Trump has moved this year to increase trade pressure on Beijing.
After announcing tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium in March, Trump raised the ante repeatedly in the following weeks. He threatened tariffs on as much as $150 billion worth of Chinese imports, prompting tit-for-tat threats by Beijing.
Trump said last Friday he had reached a deal to keep ZTE running, rolling back some penalties in exchange for security guarantees — infuriating Democrats and some in his own party.
The US is preparing to send a trade delegation back to Beijing later this week to continue talks aimed at easing trade tensions.
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