Ivanka Trump’s China supply chains shrouded in secrecy

SHANGHAI (AP) — It is no secret that the bulk of Ivanka Trump’s merchandise comes from China. But just which Chinese companies manufacture and export her line is more secret than ever, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Since Ivanka Trump became an official adviser to her father, public information about companies importing her branded goods to the U.S. has become harder to find. Information that once routinely appeared in private trade tracking data has vanished, leaving the identities of companies involved in 90 percent of shipments a mystery. Even less is known about her manufacturers. Trump’s brand, which she still owns, declined to disclose the information.

The deepening secrecy means it’s unclear who Ivanka Trump’s company is doing business with in China, even as she and her husband, Jared Kushner, have emerged as important conduits for top Chinese officials in Washington. The lack of disclosure makes it difficult to understand whether foreign governments could use business ties to try to influence the White House — and whether her company stands to profit from foreign government subsidies that can destroy American jobs. Such questions are especially pronounced in China, where state-owned and state-subsidized companies dominate large swaths of commercial activity.

“I don’t know how much money she’s making on this and why it’s worth it. I think it’s putting our trade policy in a very awkward situation,” said Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, and is part of a lawsuit against President Donald Trump for alleged constitutional violations.

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Among the few publicly identified companies that shipped Ivanka Trump goods to the U.S. in the past, the AP identified one owned by the Chinese government and another selected for special export subsidies — a possible violation by China of global fair trade rules, experts said.

Ivanka Trump’s brand doesn’t make products directly. It contracts with licensees who oversee production. AP asked Ivanka Trump’s brand, as well as its clothing, footwear and handbag licensees for supplier lists. All declined to disclose them.

Abigail Klem, who manages Ivanka Trump’s brand, said the company does not contract with foreign state-owned companies, nor benefit from Chinese government subsidies. However, she acknowledged that licensees…

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