China approved a bevy of Ivanka Trump trademarks as President Tump agreed to bail out China's ZTE. It's probably a coincidence.

Ivanka Trump returns to the White House
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Sunday, China gave final approval to a 13th trademark in three months for White House official and first daughter Ivanka Trump's lifestyle brand, including seven trademarks awarded in May alone. "Taken together," The Associated Press reports, "the trademarks could allow her brand to market a lifetime's worth of products in China, from baby blankets to coffins, and a host of things in between." They also raise thorny conflict-of-interest questions.

For example, China approved five of Ivanka Trump's long-sought, potentially lucrative trademarks six days before President Trump announced his surprise decision to work with Chinese President Xi Jinping to rescue Chinese telecom ZTE, which was fined $1.2 billion by the Commerce Department and barred from using U.S. parts for violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran and North Korea. (The military, U.S. intelligence community, and a bipartisan majority in Congress also say ZTE poses a national security threat because its phones could be used for spying.) On May 21, China awarded Ivanka Trump two more trademarks, and four days later, Trump announced he had made a deal to keep ZTE open and allow it to buy U.S. parts again.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.