Shanghai (AP) — China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for President Donald Trump and his family to potentially develop a host of branded businesses from hotels and golf clubs to bodyguard and concierge services, public documents show.
Trump’s lawyers in China applied for the marks in April 2016, as Trump railed against China at campaign rallies, accusing it of currency manipulation and stealing U.S. jobs. Critics maintain that Trump’s swelling portfolio of China trademarks raises serious conflict of interest questions.
China’s Trademark Office published the provisional approvals on Feb. 27 and Monday .
If no one objects, they will be formally registered after 90 days. All but three are in the president’s own name. China already registered one trademark to the president, for Trump-branded construction services on Feb. 14, the result of a 10-year legal battle that turned in Trump’s favor after he declared his candidacy.
Ethics lawyers across the political spectrum say that if Trump receives any special treatment in securing trademark rights, it would violate the U.S. Constitution, which bans public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless approved by Congress. Concerns about potential conflicts of interest are particularly sharp in China, where the courts and bureaucracy are designed to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party.
The marks include branded spa and massage services, golf clubs, hotels, insurance, finance and real estate companies, restaurants, bars, and a trademark class that covers bodyguards, social escort, and concierge services — though it’s unclear whether any such businesses will actually materialize in China.