China approved three trademarks for Ivanka Trump’s jewelry and spa brand the same day she and her husband, White House adviser Jared Kushner, sat down for dinner with the Asian country’s president, it was reported Tuesday.
The first daughter attended the state dinner for President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, on April 6 at her father’s exclusive Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, the Associated Press reported.
That day the Chinese government gave a provisional OK to three trademarks that provide her company with monopoly rights to sell jewelry, bags and spa services in the world’s second-largest economy, the report said.
Ivanka Trump took a leave of absence from the company last month to take an unpaid White House position as adviser to President Trump, but her company continues to expand and has applied for new trademarks in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Canada since the election, the report said.
Ethics watchdogs say criminal conflict-of-interest laws ban federal government officials, like Ivanka Trump, from being involved in issues that could benefit their financial interests.
“Put the business on hold and stop trying to get trademarks while you’re in government,” Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, told the Associated Press.
The mother of three put the business, valued at more than $50 million, in a family trust and has pledged to recuse herself from any possible conflicts.
“Ivanka will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues, or the commercial terms of agreements,” her attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement to the Associated Press.
Gorelick said Ivanka and her husband will stay away from issues that create conflicts but are under no obligations to remove themselves from talks involving broad foreign policy matters like China.
“In between, you have to assess it case-by-case,” she said.