US President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka walk to board Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2017. (AFP photo)
Despite US President Donald Trump’s calls for American companies to manufacture their products in the country, the apparel brand run by Trump’s daughter continue to land on US shores from China since he took office, new documents show.
Since the US presidential election day on November 8, the apparel and accessory brand run by Ivanka Trump has imported 56 shipments from China and Singapore, documents reviewed by NBC News show.
Shipments of Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand headed for the US included knitted and woven dresses, handbags, shoes and pullovers; among other items, NBC News reported, citing US Customs data.
Despite Trump’s “America First” rhetoric, his daughter’s clothing brand continues to take advantage of China’s low cost production.
“Ivanka is a very good client,” said Zhang Huarong, chairman of Huajian Group, whose factories in China produce millions of shoes for Western brands, including Ivanka Trump. “But of course, I never imagined Ivanka’s father would become president.”
However, it’s possible that no new orders have been placed since Trump became president, given the long lead times in the retail business.
The Trump family’s wider business ties to China have been well-documented, even as the new president has taken a tough line on China’s trade policies.
The New York Times reported in late December that at least 193 shipments of Ivanka Trump apparel were manufactured abroad in 2016. In addition to Chinese factories, the newspaper said that apparel from the line was also produced in Indonesia and Vietnam.
A representative for the Ivanka Trump brand said that she has wanted to manufacture her products in the US for some time, but the economies of scale and infrastructure mean that has not been possible.
The representative cited a report by the American Apparel & Footwear Association that shows 97 percent of all apparel and 98 percent of shoes sold in the US are imported, with the vast majority coming from Asia.
In his inaugural address, Trump promised that “from this moment on, it’s going to be America first.” Invoking images of shuttered factories, Trump vowed to bring back jobs by applying “two simple rules: buy American and hire American.”
Shortly after taking office, Trump blasted American manufacturers, including Carrier and the big three automakers, for closing domestic plants and offshoring production to Mexico.
“We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country,” Trump told his cheering supporters last year during his presidential election campaign in Indiana. “There are no jobs because China has our jobs.”
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