Ivanka Trump had three trademarks approved in China the day she met Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago

James Tennent
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On the day Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner sat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife at the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the US president's daughter reportedly had three trademarks approved in China.

Analysis from the Associated Press said that the Chinese government gave provisional approval to three trademarks on spa services, jewellery and bags under the Ivanka brand.

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Trump had said that any growth from her company would be done with "extreme caution" since her move to Washington, but since the election of her father as president, the brand has filed for nine new trademarks worldwide alongside launching an activewear line in late March.

Trump, now a federal employee alongside her White House Senior Adviser spouse, has come up against conflict-of-interest issues just mere weeks after she officially took office in the West Wing. Amid backlash over taking an unofficial role, she announced at the end of March that she would "serve as an unpaid employee in the White House office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees".

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Despite some calling for a boycott on her products and comedy show Saturday Night Live mocking her as "complicit", Trump's business is raging – 2017 saw new sales records for the brand.

In 2016, US imports rose 166%, according to AP and most of that rise came from China. In China alone, the brand has 32 pending trademarks – across the world it has 180 registers and pending trademarks.

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"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. "For their own sake and the country's, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters," said Norman Eisen.

Ethics laws forbid federal employees from taking part in policy that would affect their, or their spouse's, financial interests.

The Ivanka Trump company's president, Abigale Klem, said in a statement provided to IBTimes UK that protecting the company's trademarks was "the normal course of business, especially in regions where trademark infringement is rampant.

"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."

A lawyer for Trump told AP that she was not legally obliged to step back from larger issues, such as trade with China: "The ethics rules restrict participation in 'particular matters' that focus on the interests of a discrete and identifiable class".

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