Ivanka Trump’s business has won approval from China for at least five new trademarks.
The timing appears to be suspect with it coming just days after Donald Trump announced he was working on a controversial deal to drop U.S. prohibitions against China cellphone manufacturer ZTE.
President Trump said Friday he had reached a deal to keep Chinese telecoms giant ZTE running, rolling back penalties in exchange for security guarantees.
China has approved five new trademarks for Ivanka Trump’s business just days after Trump’s deal to drop US prohibitions against cellphone manufacturer ZTE
The move infuriated Democrats and some in his own party after the company violated US sanctions on Iran and North Korea and repeatedly lied to US government officials.
But now, daughter Ivanka’s operations will give her the exclusive rights to market a variety of products in China that will likely amount to millions of dollars in profits.
Although the trademark applications were submitted more than a year ago, they were all approved on May 7 – then five days later Trump said he was working on a deal to lift remove U.S. business barriers against ZTE in order to save Chinese jobs.
News of the agreement drew immediate fire on Capitol Hill.
The trademark approvals raise new concerns about potential Trump family conflicts of interest
Under the agreement, ZTE would oust its management team, hire American compliance officers and pay a fine.
The fine would come on top of the roughly $1 billion ZTE has already paid for selling equipment to North Korea and Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.
In return, the Commerce Department would lift a seven-year ban on ZTE’s purchase of components that the Chinese firm depends on from U.S. companies.
The ban, imposed earlier this month, threatened to put ZTE out of business.
The non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C., said the trademark deal again raises concerns about the Trump family’s international businesses and potential conflicts of interest.
‘As a White House adviser, Ivanka has represented the United States at multiple diplomatic events despite the potential conflicts her business interests present,’ CREW said in a statement.
President Trump said Friday he had reached a deal to keep Chinese telecoms giant ZTE running, rolling back penalties in exchange for security guarantees
The trademarks grant Ivanka Trump operations exclusive rights to market a variety of products in China that will likely amount to millions of dollars in profits
‘This is a law enforcement action being handled by Commerce,’ said Lindsay Walters, the deputy White House press secretary. ‘We are making sure ZTE is held accountable for violating U.S. sanctions, pays a big price and that we are protecting our security infrastructure and U.S. jobs.’
Lawmakers have warned the administration not to go easy on a company that brazenly violated U.S. sanctions against two rogue nations that were pursuing nuclear weapons production.
‘If the administration goes through with this reported deal, President Trump would be helping make China great again,’ said Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.
Schumer added: ‘Both parties in Congress should come together to stop this deal in its tracks.’
‘ZTE presents a national security threat to the United States — and nothing in this reported deal addresses that fundamental fact,’ said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. ‘If President Trump won’t put our security before Chinese jobs, Congress will act on a bipartisan basis to stop him.’
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted: ‘It is a great deal … for #ZTE & China … Many hoped this time would be different.’
Congress, Rubio said, ‘will need to act.’
The United States and China have reached a deal to lift sanctions on embattled Chinese telecom company ZTE, The New York Times reported
Trump responded to his critics late Friday, saying Democrats had done nothing to rein in ZTE. ‘I closed it down then let it reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase U.S. parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine,’ he tweeted.
The Commerce Department last month blocked China’s ZTE from importing American components for seven years, having concluded that ZTE deceived U.S. regulators after it settled charges last year of violating sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
The ban amounted to a virtual death sentence for ZTE, which relies on U.S. parts, and it also hurt ZTE’s U.S. suppliers.
On the eve of broad trade talks last week with a Chinese trade envoy, Trump waded into the ZTE case: He tweeted that he was working with President Xi Jinping to put ZTE ‘back in business, fast’ and save tens of thousands of Chinese jobs.
ZTE was fined $1.2 billion in March 2017 and Washington banned the sale of crucial US components to the company, but such restrictions have now been rolled back
He later tweeted that the ZTE talks were ‘part of a larger trade deal’ being negotiated with China.
Word of a reported ZTE agreement comes nearly a week after the U.S. and China suspended plans to impose tariffs on as much as $200 billion of each other’s goods.
In doing so, the two nations pulled back from the brink of a trade war over Chinese demands that U.S. companies hand over some of their technology as the price of doing business in China.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to travel to Beijing on June 2 for further discussions over China’s aggressive push to challenge U.S. technological dominance.
Resolving the ZTE case — a company that employs more than 70,000 Chinese — could make the talks go more smoothly.