• Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Trump warns of imposing reciprocal tax on India if elected to power in 2024: ‘The tariff is so high’

During his only term as the US president, Trump described India as a “tariff king” and in May 2019, terminated India’s preferential market access to the US.

Former US president Donald Trump with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi in February 2020. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

FORMER US president Donald Trump, who is seeking his second term, has once again raised the issue of high tax by India on certain American products in particular the iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and has threatened to slap with reciprocal tax if voted to power in the 2024 presidential elections.

During his only term as the US president between 2017 and 2021, the Republican businessman-politician described India as a “tariff king” and in May 2019, terminated India’s preferential market access — Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) — to the US alleging India has not given his country “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”

In an interview with Larry Kudlow of Fox Business News, Trump said he came down heavily on India’s tax rates, which he alleged were quite high.

“The other thing I want to have is a matching tax where, if India charges us — India is very big with tariffs. I mean, I saw it with Harley-Davidson. I was saying, how do you do in a place like India? Oh, no good sir. Why? They have 100 per cent and 150 per cent and 200 per cent tariffs,” said the former president.

“So, I said, so they can sell their Indian motorbike. They actually make a bike, an Indian motorbike. They can sell that into our country with no tax, no tariff, but when you make a Harley, when you send it over there — because they were doing no business. I said, how come you don’t do business with India? The tariff is so high that nobody wants it. But what they want us to do is, they want us to go over and build a plant, and then you have no tariff,” Trump said.

“They said, well, that’s not good. That’s not our deal, OK? That’s not our deal. And I came down very hard on them. But India is very big. Brazil is very big on tariffs, I mean, very, very big. We had a couple of people, like the senator from a place called Pennsylvania that I love. But this guy was just horrendous. I said, let me ask you a question. If India is charging us 200 per cent, and we’re charging them nothing for products, can we charge them 100 per cent? No, sir, that’s not free trade. Can we charge them 50 per cent? No, sir. Twenty-five, 10, anything? No. I said, what the hell is wrong? There’s something wrong. You know what I’m talking about,” he added.

“If India is charging us too, so what I want to have is a — call it retribution. You could call it whatever you want. If they are charging us, we charge them,” Trump said in response to a question.

The former president, who is facing a series of court cases and indictments, is leading the Republican presidential primaries and accounts for more than half of the GOP votes according to major national polls.

He became the first one-term president after George H W Bush (1989-1993) after losing the 2020 election to incumbent president Joe Biden.

(With PTI inputs)

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