03:38 GMT +313 November 2019
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    Ex-White House Ethics Chief Doubts Ivanka Trump’s Brand ‘Shut Down’ Amid Approval of New Trademarks

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    In July 2018, Ivanka Trump announced the termination of her namesake fashion brand in order to focus on government work. The decision followed accusations of conflict of interest that emerged from the US first daughter’s increased involvement in foreign affairs while continuing to promote her brand.

    American attorney and former director of the US Office for Government Ethics Walter Shaub has questioned Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump on whether she indeed closed down her namesake fashion brand IT Collection LLC in July of last year, following reports that the first daughter’s company had won several trademark approvals from China months after it was supposedly shuttered.

    Citing an article by watchdog organisation Citizens for Ethics, which claimed that Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand won approval for 16 new trademarks from the Chinese government in October 2018, Shaub wrote on his Twitter account that it was particularly “funny” that Ivanka Trump’s brand did not cease applying for trademarks, despite declaring its closure on 24 July 2018. He also raised doubts about whether the president’s daughter stopped making money from licensing deals.

    “I, for one, look forward to seeing Ivanka Trump's financial disclosure for calendar year 2019 in May 2020", Walter Shaub wrote.

    ​In November 2018, the Associated Press reported that China had granted 18 trademarks to companies linked to Ivanka Trump and the US president over the two previous months, bringing the total number of approvals granted by China that year to 34, including trademarks covering handbags, shoes, jewelry, and other fashion items. This came three months after Ivanka Trump announced the dissolution of her namesake brand citing her government work in the White House.

    Many ethics watchdogs have raised concerns about conflicts of interest over Ivanka Trump’s advisory position in the White House and business activities. In particular, over Ivanka's brand receiving numerous Chinese trademark approvals shortly before Donald Trump announced that he was planning to lift sanctions against Chinese telecom company ZTE. IT Collection LLC also received three new Chinese trademarks the same day Ivanka Trump dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping back in 2017.

    In July 2018, Ivanka Trump declared that shutting down the brand was “the only fair outcome” for her team and partners following the concerns raised, but said at the time that she was not sure whether she would return to business.

    “After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington", Trump said at that time.

    While Ivanka Trump hasn't publicly commented on the issue yet, the possibility that she could resume her business following her the departure from the White House remains, because the US first daughter still retains ownership over all the trademarks she's received.

    Tags:
    trademark, China, United States, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump
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