China's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday the government equally handles applications to register trademarks, following a report that the company of the daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump has had new trademarks approved in China.
Ivanka, who is now officially serving as an unpaid advisor in the West Wing, is prohibited by law from taking any action that would benefit her own financial holdings; she shifted her brand's assets to a family-run trust and claims she will recuse herself from any issues that might present a conflict of interest.
Ivanka Trump (far left) and Jared Kushner (second to left) sit next to Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan and Chinese President Xi Jinping (center) at a dinner at Mar-a-Lago, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla.
"The danger is that with any discussion with the Chinese, one party or the other may try to bring up trade", Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, told the AP. US imports, nearly all of them from China, shot up an estimated 166 per cent a year ago. Her attorney Jamie Gorelick said in a statement that she "will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues, or the commercial terms of agreements".
Gorelick did not respond to questions about the trademarks creating the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Sales have hit record levels this year, despite boycotts and several stores limiting her merchandise.
Controversy is growing here after USA online media reported that Trump made that remark in an interview with the Wall Street Journal while sharing what was discussed with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in their recent summit held earlier this month.
"Ivanka has so many China ties and conflicts, yet she and Jared appear deeply involved in China contacts and policy", Obama's White House "ethics czar" has said. In China alone, the brand has 32 pending trademarks - across the world it has 180 registers and pending trademarks. Altogether, they cover a wide range of goods and services, including cosmetics, jewelry, leather handbags, luggage, clothes, shoes, retail, spa and beauty services.
The week of the summit, 3.4 tons of Ivanka Trump handbags, wallets and blouses arrived in the US from Hong Kong and Shanghai. Sales of Ivanka merchandise on Lyst.com, a large e-commerce platform, bump 46 percent higher for the month. There is no sign the recent approvals were particularly swift.
The Trump administration took a beating when White House counselor Kellyanne Conway exhorted Fox viewers to "Go buy Ivanka's stuff", and "I'm going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody; you can find it online".
February 20, 2017: Ivanka Trump Marks LLC wins preliminary approval for a trademark covering branded leather handbags in China, where the company has 52 pending or registered trademarks listed in the government trademark database.
In addition to the China trademark deal she has at least nine new trademarks with Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada and the United States, all since the election, according to AP. "Her celebrity status is now not only be fueled by her wealth and her family connection, but by her huge role in the White House. All that buzz is hardwired into her products".
Adamson said that is a competitive advantage other brands just can't match.