President Trump's return to Washington on Monday to sign a memorandum against China that would investigate the theft of U.S. intellectual property is interesting because it's specific. Prior to the signing, it was viewed that the president's effort to implement a "tough" trade deal on china would be something his administration could use for leverage to get them to rein in North Korea over their nuclear program.

Trump brand's connection with China

Since Trump has been in office, he has publicly gone after North Korea for their missile program and has repeatedly been confronted with the fact that he would need China's help.

But President Trump's "trade" dealings with China existed before he was president. For ten years, Donald Trump had been trying to trademark his Trump brand in China for the construction of more hotels there.

Recent business dealings with Trump family

It so happened that the Chinese government finally approved those trademarks in February after his inauguration. In fact, many familiar with China's trademark process have said that the bulk approval for Trump brand trademarks was prioritized and processed a lot faster than they've ever seen. Its also been reported that Trump's daughter Ivanka filed 14 trademark applications for China in March.

It was also reported this year that a senior White House aide -- Jared Kushner's sister -- was using Trump as a way to lure Chinese investors to Kushner properties in New Jersey.

The pitch was that if those investors invested enough money, they would be able to get investor visas before the government made changes to the laws. This caught the attention of lawmakers and others as an obvious conflict of interest, which the Trump administration had been accused of and is now being sued for.

Trade 'pressure' is more about Trump brand

On August 7, the New York Times reported in an article titled: "Trump company moves to protect brand in Chinese gambling hub" that the Trump Organization spokeswoman said that the the company protects the Trump brand's intellectual property. The report is specifically over a casino in Macau that the Trump organization wants to run.

Its also been widely reported that the president's sons are now the ones managing Trump brand properties and have continued to push expansion worldwide. There are currently no Trump brand properties in China.

In another article published by the Washington Post in February titled: "Trump gets his trademark in China. But he won't be reaping the benefits" it said that China's trademark laws appeared to be going in the direction of having more international status. It should be noted in this case that the president's global trade agenda is more in the direction of isolating the U.S. or, as he puts it, "making America first." Ideologically, this goes in the opposite direction of what China likely wants its trade relationship to be with the rest of the world.

President Trump's investigation into intellectual property, therefore, appears to be less about pressuring China over North Korea -- as it's hardly any pressure at all -- and more about pressuring them to further the agenda of Trump brand trademarks.

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