CNN Money: Ivanka Trump's firm seeks new trademarks in China, reviving ethical concerns
But that's still a problem, says Larry Noble, the general counsel for the nonprofit, nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group.
He said the family's continued ties to their businesses raise questions about whether their profit motives could influence U.S. relations with other countries.
"China knows that to deny these applications would get a negative reaction from the president, and to expedite their approval would get a positive reaction from the president," Noble said.
"China is a huge market," Noble said, adding that Ivanka Trump's company could "stand to lose a lot if these applications are denied."