Donald Trump

Chinese fashion factories cut ties as Ivanka Trump brand falls apart at the seams

It’s the end of the line for the White House adviser’s business, but her manufacturers say they moved on long ago

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 3:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 5:34am

Ivanka Trump’s struggling fashion brand has finally reached the end of the line, with some of the Chinese factories that once made her bags, dresses and shoes saying they cut ties with her operation long ago.

Trump, US President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, announced on Tuesday that she was shutting down her company, news that came after months of anti-Trump retailer boycotts and concerns that she was furthering her own business interests while working as a White House adviser.

“After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington,” she said in a statement. “So making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.”

In contrast to the president’s stated interest in returning manufacturing to the US, the Ivanka Trump label, launched in 2011, was largely produced in China, according to import data compiled by New York-based platform Panjiva.

Various Chinese factories that supplied the company said the label’s closure would have little to no impact on their business.

As trade war rages, the shoe biz goes on for Ivanka Trump and her Chinese suppliers

Hangzhou HS Fashion Corporation said senior management had ordered the company to stop taking orders from the company.

“We had some business with Ivanka’s brand, but not a lot,” a sales representative said. “The impact will not be that big anyway. We have 30-some sales departments here.”

In southwestern China’s Sichuan province, both Chengdu Yaqili Shoes Industry and Chengdu Oceangoing Footwear said they had not taken orders from the Ivanka Trump shoe brand for some time.

While Ivanka Trump had not been actively involved with the brand since entering the White House, she was accused of conflicts of interest over the administration’s position and her company.

Days after her father’s surprise reversal of the US government’s ban on Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE in late May, her company, Ivanka Trump Marks, was granted five trademarks for goods in China ranging from bath mats and textiles to baby blankets.

In addition, garments were exempted from the first round of US tariffs in the escalating trade war between the two countries.

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The brand also became the centre of controversy last year, when three men from China Labour Watch, a New York-based non-profit group, were arrested while investigating alleged labour abuses at the brand’s Chinese suppliers.

Shipment data from Panjiva, which covers 95 per cent of global trade flows, indicates that there have been no Ivanka Trump brand shipments from China to the US since March 11. The last order was shipped from an Indonesian factory to the US and arrived on July 4.

But information from Chinese factories to Ivanka Trump’s US buyers has been increasingly difficult to check because open data about the consignee and shipper can no longer be found, according to an Associated Press report in September.

Panjiva research director Chris Rogers previously said it was likely that companies shipping Ivanka Trump’s products changed how they referred to the shipments, including the use of code names.