President Donald Trump has been under fire in recent weeks, after deciding to ease sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE, nullifying the Commerce Department’s seven-year ban on American firms doing business with the firm, according to Politico.
While the president was facing bipartisan pushback from Congress, which remains critical of Trump’s decision, citing national security concerns, his business partner signed a large contract with a major Chinese construction company, China State Construction Engineering Corp. (CSEC).
A contract worth $19.6 million was signed between CSEC and Trump’s partner, DAMAC Properties. This was confirmed in a press release published on DAMAC‘s official website, which states that CSEC will be in charge of road and infrastructure work at a residential area of the Trump World Golf Club Dubai project, called Akoya Oxygen. This includes three clusters of buildings, consisting of 1,623 villas.
Although DAMAC refrained from referencing the president, or the Trump Organization, McClatchyDC noted that the Trump Organization, which is run by the president’s sons, had confirmed the company licensed its name and brand to DAMAC Properties, which manages Trump’s Dubai golf course.
This is not the first time that China State Construction Engineering Corp. has collaborated with the president’s partner. The same Chinese-government owned company was awarded a $32 million contract to build a six-lane road in early 2017. Likewise, in February, the company was hired to construct one of Akoya Oxygen’s buildings, at a cost of $163 million.
In total, China State Construction Engineering Corp. landed $214.6 million worth of contracts with Trump’s Dubai enterprise. According to financial non-disclosure statements obtained by McClatchyDC, President Trump received $141,000 in 2017 from the Dubai project. His daughter and senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, received $2 million in severance from the Trump Organization.
Jordan Libowitz, the spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told McClatchyDC the following.
“This just furthers the troubling trend of the president’s businesses benefiting from the actions of foreign governments. It raises serious questions as to whether his loyalties are divided. Will American foreign policy be impacted by the actions of foreign governments towards his personal business empire?”
Although the Trump Organization is ran by the president’s adult sons, he has maintained ownership of the company. The U.S. Constitution’s “foreign emoluments clause” bars federal officials from taking gifts from foreign states. According to the Washington Post, in order to abide by the Constitution, Trump promised he would donate profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.
In 2017, according to CNN, the Trump Organization said it donated $151, 470 to the U.S. Treasury. The Chinese government has granted Trump at least 39 trademarks since he took office, according to U.S. News & World Report, and the president has raked in $175 million from commercial tenants like the state-owned Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.
In January, as the New York Times reported, Special Counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed the Trump Organization, demanding documents about Russia. Ever since Trump took office, the organization has been a magnet for criticism, from watchdog groups in particular, who expressed concern that the president is vulnerable to conflicts of interest.