Mexico Granted the Trump Organization More Trademarks

Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto
Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands at a press conference in Mexico City, Mexico on August 31, 2016. Despite frosty relations between the two, Mexico has granted the Trump Organization a series of trademarks. Henry Romero/Reuters

The saga of Donald Trump's relationship with Mexico took another twist on Sunday. After all the talk of the wall the president claims Mexico will pay for, despite the country saying that it won't, and the cancellation of Enrique Peña Nieto's visit to see Trump in January, Trump now has three trademarks in Mexico.

Though Trump has said he wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, his company received three trademarks in late February, according to The Associated Press (AP). The trademarks, valid until 2026, reportedly add to another license the Trump Organization received from Mexico in October and cover a wide range of businesses from construction to hotels to insurance. While previous, expired trademarks were held in the name of Donald J. Trump, these are owned by DTTM Operations LLC, located in Trump Tower in New York.

In accordance with the U.S. Constitution—which prevents the president from receiving money or gifts from foreign governments—Trump's children, who are running his business empire, have promised not to strike any foreign deals while their father is in office. Trump has not divested from his businesses but has resigned from his positions overseeing them—this stance provoked criticism from ethics experts concerned that foreign businesses his organization might work with could have political links.

Speaking about the Mexico trademarks to the AP, Alan Garten, General Counsel for the Trump Organization said that the licenses were purely defensive and were simply renewals of existing ones. "Circumstances have changed," Garten said. "He's been elected and we agreed not to do foreign deals." He said that as well as being deals long in the pipeline, they were also designed to stop other people using the Trump name.

However, this didn't stop people criticizing the trademarks.

Richard Painter, former White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush and vice-chairman of CREW, an organization suing Trump over his foreign business entanglements, linked the trademarks to Trump's controversial wall.

Mexico begins paying for the Wall – in trademarks

— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) March 12, 2017

In reference to the Mexico licenses, and the AP's Wednesday report that China provisionally granted 38 trademarks to Trump, including for escort services, user Eric Garland tweeted:

Old Trump: "No *new* foreign deals."

New Trump: "Trademarks for Chinese escorts and new Mexican hotels!"

— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) March 12, 2017

This issue will likely continue to frustrate Trump's opponents. As the New York Times pointed out, the Trump Organization has been filing trademarks for decades and in more than 80 countries. For the company, though it's namesake might be president, business goes on as usual.