Trump Awarded China Trademark
President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization have received recognition from the Chinese government for something they had been looking for over a decade: trademark protection for the Trump name in construction.
Trump battled unsuccessfully in Chinese courts for years trying to control the trademark, but, according to a report on CNN, things changed last year toward the end of his campaign for the White House.
In September China’s trademark review board announced it was invalidating a rival claim to the trademark. Soon after the election, the agency awarded the trademark to the Trump Organization.
Ethics experts believe that the Chinese authorities reversed their position as Trump gained political momentum and that China will seek concessions from Trump in exchange for their decision.
Trump Organization attorneys denied that assertion, saying the protracted litigation merely sought to dislodge someone who was squatting on the trademark.
While the trademark covers construction services, and not for Trump’s core hospitality and real-estate businesses, there is no question that the Trump brand is key to the value of the Trump Organization’s assets. According to CNN, Trump already holds dozens of trademarks in China and is seeking more.
The ethics concerns stem from Trump’s decision not to sever ties with the company. Most holder of high office in the United States avoid conflicts by selling off business and financial interests and putting the funds in a blind trust. Trump instead announced he would place his assets in a trust run by his sons.
Trump had tough words for China on the campaign trail, saying he would label the People’s Republic a currency manipulator on his first day in office and that he would impose heavy trade tariffs on Chinese imports. So far, at least, he hasn’t followed through on these threats.