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U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Eric Branstad, son of U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, has used his connections to President Trump to improve his business ties in the country, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: The younger Branstad is a former Trump official, having worked as the U.S. Commerce Department's White House liaison until the beginning of this year. According to the Journal, this isn't technically outlawed by ethics rules, as former U.S. officials have done this before, but it does "raise the appearance of ethical conflicts."

Wheeling and dealing

  • Brandstad recently spoke in at an event in Shanghai called "How to React to (Potential) U.S.-China Trade War?"
  • His company, Mercury Public Affairs LLC, plans to open an office in China, and Branstad highlighted his "personal connection" with Trump during the seminar in order to improve his business in the country.

Branstad's partner at Mercury, Michael McKeon, told the WSJ: "He is well versed in the ethical obligations he has as a former member of the Trump administration and has been scrupulous in adhering to the high standards he sets for himself."

Go deeper

Federal Reserve expands lending program for small businesses

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at a news conference in 2019. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The Federal Reserve said on Friday it would again lower the minimum loan size for its pandemic-era small business program.

Details: Businesses and nonprofits will be able to borrow a minimum of $100,000 from the facility, down from $250,000 — a move that might attract smaller businesses that don't need as hefty of a loan. Since the program launched earlier this year, the minimum loan size has been reduced twice.

2 hours ago - Economy & Business

How Trump and Biden would steer the future of transportation

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden would likely steer automotive policy in different directions over the next four years, potentially changing the industry's road map to the future.

Why it matters: The auto industry is on the cusp of historic technological changes and the next president — as well as the next Congress — could have an extraordinary influence on how the future of transportation plays out.