Days after Donald Trump’s election victory, a news agency in the former Soviet republic of Georgia reported that a long-stalled plan for a Trump-branded tower in a seaside Georgian resort town was back on track.

Likewise, the local developer of a Trump Tower planned for Buenos Aires announced last week, three days after Trump spoke with Argentina’s president, that the long-delayed project was moving ahead.

Meanwhile, foreign government leaders seeking to speak with Trump have contacted the president-elect through his overseas network of business partners, an unusually informal process for calls traditionally coordinated with the U.S. State Department.

All of it highlights the muddy new world that Trump’s election may usher in – a world in which his stature as the U.S. president, the status of his private ventures across the globe and his relationships with foreign business partners and the leaders of their governments could all become intertwined.

In that world, Trump could profit financially if his election gives a boost to his brand and results in its expansion overseas. His political rise could also enrich his overseas business partners – and, perhaps more significantly, enhance their status in their home countries and alter long-standing diplomatic traditions by establishing them as new conduits for public business.

Trump has done little to set boundaries between his personal and official business since winning the presidency.

He has indicated that his children may take over the business, but he has also appointed them to formal roles in his presidential transition and included daughter Ivanka on calls with world leaders. And he has continued to offer signs that he may remain engaged, at least on some level, in his private ventures.

For instance, Trump took a break from selecting his Cabinet last week for a brief meeting in his Trump Tower office with the developers of a Trump project in Pune, India, shaking hands and posing for photos with the men. When asked about the meeting, Trump told the New York Times: “I mean, what am I going to say? ‘I’m not going to talk to you, I’m not going to take pictures’?”

Trump also acknowledged to the Times, after he received a congratulatory visit the weekend after the election from British politician Nigel Farage, that he “might have” encouraged the leader of the UK Independence Party to oppose offshore windmill farms, like one he has fought off the Scottish coast because he believes it will mar the view from his Trump Turnberry golf resort there.

Trump has reacted defensively to suggestions that his conversations about his private business are somehow inappropriate. He told the Times this week that “the law’s totally on my side. The president can’t have a conflict of interest.”

On Monday evening, he tweeted: “Prior to the election, it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world. Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!”

Ethics experts say that if Trump takes no action to distance himself from his business holdings, he is likely to face questions about whether he is pursuing policy in the national interest or for his own business advantage. It is also possible that Trump could run afoul of a constitutional provision prohibiting presidents from accepting favors, or “emoluments,” from foreign leaders.

Trump representatives did not respond to questions this week about his business interests in Argentina, Georgia or elsewhere.

It is unclear how much real progress Trump’s election has prompted for some of these foreign projects, several of which had stalled in recent years. Some of the promises of renewed activity could be the work of foreign partners who have paid for the use of his name and who may be looking to take advantage of the moment as a marketing opportunity.

The Trump project in Argentina, for instance, has not been issued new permits since Election Day, a city official in Buenos Aires said. But public reports that the project is moving ahead show how foreign developers could stand to benefit if their governments were to grease the skids for Trump-branded projects as a way to curry favor with the new American president.

In Argentina, President Mauricio Macri connected by phone with President-elect Trump and his daughter Ivanka on Nov. 14. Three days later, Trump’s development partner in Argentina, the YY Development Group, put out word that the $100 million project was moving forward, featuring on its website a South American news report touting the progress. “The magnate Donald Trump expands his ‘ultraexclusive’ towers in South America,” the story read.

The development firm’s chief executive, Felipe Yaryuri, has touted his personal relationship with the Trumps, particularly with Trump’s son Eric.

Yaryuri declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that his company has filed permit requests with the city of Buenos Aires that are awaiting approval.

Entanglements between Trump’s business interests and his official relationships also appear possible in Georgia, a U.S. ally where many are fearful of Trump’s potential rapprochement with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump swept into the Black Sea resort town of Batumi in 2012 and announced that a new luxury Trump Tower would soon rise from the empty field in which he stood with the country’s then-president.

Once scheduled to break ground in 2013, however, the project was halted by an economic downturn, a local land planning dispute and, some analysts said, the electoral defeat of then-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a personal friend of Trump’s who had championed the deal.

In recent months, long-standing roadblocks to the project’s groundbreaking resolved without government assistance, said Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a U.S.-based partner working with the local developer, the Silk Road Group, which paid Trump a licensing fee to put his name on the building.

Rtskhiladze said the developers informed the Trump Organization in September or October that the project could now proceed. After Trump was elected, he said he emailed a congratulatory note to Trump’s adult children and to a top Trump Organization executive – and reiterated that developers are prepared to move forward. He said Trump executives have indicated the project is being “reevaluated,” as they discuss how his company will be operated after Trump takes office.


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