Earlier this month, China’s second-biggest telecom equipment maker ZTE was forced to cease its major operations after the United States banned local firms from selling hardware and software to the telecommunication giant for 7 years.
However, almost a week after that decision, President Donald Trump sent out a rather surprising tweet claiming he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to save the telecom company.
Not too long after the commander-in-chief sent out that tweet, the National Review revealed China had quietly invested $500 million to build a theme park in Indonesia that would (surprise, surprise) feature a “Trump-branded golf course and hotels,” suggesting the sudden decision to save Chinese jobs could have something to do with the president’s business ventures.
Now, a couple of weeks down the road, a government ethics watchdog group released a report claiming the Chinese government recently approved five trademarks for first daughter and senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump’s business.
Interestingly, the trademarks, applied for in March 2017, were accepted on May 7 – a handful of days before Trump announced he was working to ease restrictions on ZTE.
Another trademark was approved a week prior to that.
“Ivanka Trump Marks LLC already holds more than a dozen trademarks in the country as well as multiple pending applications. China is also a major supplier of Ivanka Trump-branded merchandise,” explained Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) in its report. “As a White House adviser, Ivanka has represented the United States at multiple diplomatic events despite the potential conflicts her business interests present. Although Ivanka has stepped down from her role at her business and has placed it in a trust, she continues to receive profits from the business.”
Talk about conflicts of interest.
The report also pointed out how Ivanka Trump’s brand has had several trademarks approved after she assumed a role in her father’s White House – including three trademarks that were approved the same day she had dinner with the Chinese president during his visit to the United States.
Coincidence? Probably not.
Meanwhile, Trump has now a reached a deal with ZTE, which has been accused of stealing intellectual property, allowing it to remain in business after paying $1.3 billion in fine, changing its management and providing “high-level security guarantees.”
However, the move received severe backlash from both the Republicans and the Democrats.
Yes they have a deal in mind. It is a great deal... for #ZTE & China. #China crushes U.S. companies with no mercy & they use these telecomm companies to spy & steal from us. Many hoped this time would be different. Now congress will need to act. https://t.co/ETMUCe9ia6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 25, 2018
“If the administration goes through with this reported deal, President Trump would be helping make China great again. Simply a fine and changing board members would not protect America's economic or national security, and would be a huge victory for President Xi, and a dramatic retreat by President Trump,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Kevin Lamarque