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Ivanka Trump. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

China has granted Ivanka Trump initial approval for 16 trademarks on a bevy of branded products — from shoes and sunglasses to semiconductors and voting machines — the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The approvals come more than two years after Trump’s company applied, "which is far longer than the average processing time of a year or less," Hao Junbo, a trademark lawyer at the Beijing Hao Law Firm, told the Washington Post. Trump closed her fashion brand in July amid ethics concerns over her new job as senior adviser to her father, but the trademark approvals have renewed concerns about potential conflicts of interest given President Trump's ongoing clashes with China on trade.

  • Ivanka's representatives claim that the trademarks are part of a global effort to protect the Trump name.

The bottom line: Ethics watchdog groups, like Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, remain skeptical of the timing of the approvals:

"Since she has retained her trademarks, the public will continue to have to ask whether President Trump has made foreign policy decisions in the interest of his and his family's businesses."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan discussed Saudi-Israel normalization with MBS

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Tech's leaky world

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech companies are learning what everyone in Washington already knows: Leaks of confidential info are inevitable, and "plumbing" operations to close them rarely work.

Why it matters: Most tech firms talk up the power of transparency but prefer to keep details of their operations secret from competitors and the public. Researchers, regulators and the media are increasingly relying on information provided by dissident employees and whistleblowers to see inside companies' workings.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Harris wants more union membership in fed workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a virtual town hall with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 14. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will today announce new guidelines to encourage federal workers to join unions, according to a White House official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration wants to bolster the collective bargaining power of workers across the country – and they are starting at home, with changes in the federal workforce.