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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 10, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 10
Donald Trump gets approval to pimp in China
Section One
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Donald Trump gets approval to pimp in China

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

China has granted preliminary approval to Donald Trump for 38 new trademarks, according to a March 8 story from the Associated Press. Chinese officials reportedly published the approvals on February 27 and March 6.

Among the Trump-trademarked businesses that Chinese officials approved are what documents describe as 'social escort and concierge services.'

Other approved business ventures include branded spas; massage parlors; golf clubs; hotels; insurance, finance, and real estate companies; restaurants; bars; and bodyguard services.

According to the AP, Trump's lawyers in China applied for the trademarks in April 2016. At the same time, Trump was accusing China of currency manipulation and stealing US jobs.

Trump's new portfolio of Chinese trademarks raises both conflict-of-interest questions and questions about the propriety of a US president running escort services and massage parlors.

Trump apparently got expedited approval of his businesses, experts in the field told the AP.

Dan Plane, a director at Simone IP Services, a Hong Kong intellectual property consultancy, said he had never seen so many applications approved so expeditiously.

'For all these marks to sail through so quickly and cleanly, with no similar marks, no identical marks, no issues with specifications - boy, it's weird,' he said.

Plane said he would be 'very, very surprised' if officials from the ruling Communist Party were not monitoring Trump's intellectual property interests.

'This is just way over your average trademark examiner's pay grade,' he said.

Ethics lawyers say that if Trump receives any special treatment by Chinese officials, it would violate the emoluments clause of the US Constitution, which bars US officials from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless approved by Congress.

Congressional Democrats also raised questions about the deal.

'It's clear to me that officials in Beijing have come to appreciate the potential return on investments for China in having a positive, personal business relationship with the president of the United States, who has not taken appropriate and transparent steps to completely sever his relationship from the corporation that bears his name,' Sen. Ben Cardin said in a March 8 statement.

Cardin is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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