Trump’s line about “America First” echoed the slogan of apologists for fascism in the 1930s who wanted to keep the U.S. out of war with Hitler.

But it turns out that his anti-globalist stance is not what you think. The New York Times reports that his business empire is expanding overseas, without halt. Even during the campaign, he was applying for trademarks and permits in other countries.

During the campaign, Mr. Trump’s organization continued to file dozens of new trademarks, in China, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and Indonesia, and one of his companies applied for trademark protection in the Philippines more than a month after the election, a review of foreign records by The New York Times showed.

His trademarks in recent years have covered all manner of potential products, including soap and perfume in India, engineering services in Brunei and vodka in Israel. Even last week, the government in China, where his companies have filed for at least 126 trademarks since 2005, announced it was granting Mr. Trump rights to protect his name brand for construction projects, affirming a decision made in November.

The contrast with his hard-line anti-globalism since taking office is stark. During his first weeks as president, Mr. Trump denounced China and Mexico for unfair trade practices and derided the European Union as “basically a vehicle for Germany.” He ended American involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sprawling trade pact with Asian nations, and said he would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Trump seems to be the archetypal businessman with mercantilist instincts,” Dani Rodrik, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, said in an email. “‘Open your market for me to do business in it, but you can have access to mine only on my terms.’”

The trademarks are the natural outgrowth of a global-spanning strategy. Like any businessman, Mr. Trump has long sought to protect his brand and products legally with trademarks, whether by registering a board game he once tried to sell, slogans like “Make America Great Again” or simply the name “Trump.”

But the trail of trademarks offers further clues to his international business ties, which leave the president vulnerable to potential conflicts of interest, or at least perception challenges. The Chinese government’s trademark announcement last week came just days after Mr. Trump retreated from challenging China’s policy on Taiwan in a call with China’s president, Xi Jinping.

The Times review of nine databases identified nearly 400 foreign trademarks registered to Trump companies since 2000 in 28 countries, among them New Zealand, Egypt and Russia, as well as the European Union. There are most likely many more trademarks, because there is no central repository of all trademarks from every country. The Trump Organization has been filing trademarks for decades, and has said that it has taken out trademarks in more than 80 countries.