Trump: Modi is a ‘fantastic man’, but India ‘robbing’ US

Singapore: Monday saw differences between India and the US take a sharp turn after US President Donald Trump seemed visibly unimpressed by PM Narendra Modi’s duty cuts of 50% on Harley Davidson imports.

“I called him (Modi) up but, US gets nothing and India thinks it is doing a favour!” the don said. This is the third instance in a year when Trump has criticised Indian tariffs mentioning the import duty on Harley-Davidson motorbikes.

On February 14, Trump incidentally told members of Congress that Modi called him up to inform him of the cuts, referring to him on that occasion as a “great gentleman”.

What went wrong

After the Modi-led central government raised duties on certain imported goods in the February 1 budget for 2018-19, US officials as well as companies have approached the government raising concerns over the issue. “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,” said Trump in his tirade against countries “robbing” the US, as he left the G-7 summit in Canada on bitter terms.

“This isn’t just G7. I mean, we have India, where some of the tariffs are 100 per cent. And we charge nothing. We can’t do that,” Trump said as he threatened to stop doing trade with countries “who are being unfair” to the US. “It’s going to stop. Or we’ll stop trading with them. And that’s a very profitable answer…” he added.

What the US president said

“When they (Harley-Davidson) send a motorcycle to India, as an example, they have to pay 100% tax 100%.”

“Now, the PM, who I think is a fantastic man, called me the other day and said we are lowering it to 50 per cent. I said okay, but so far we’re getting nothing. He gets 50, and they think they’re doing us a favour.”

“I wasn’t sure he (Modi) said it so beautifully. He’s a beautiful man!”

“And he (Modi) said, ‘I just want to inform you that we have reduced it to 75, but we have further reduced it to 50.’ And I said, huh. What do I say? Am I supposed to be thrilled? It’s just not right. And we have many deals like that…”

All eyes on Trump & Kim meet today

  • The world waits with bated breath to see the outcome of the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meet in Singapore on Tuesday morning. The historic summit billed as the mother of all summits will aim to solve the world’s most seething crisis – denuclearisation. This will be the first time a US President will meet any Pyongyang leader.
  • However, not only thousands of journalists from the world who have flocked there for the “symbolic” meeting, but also leaders are not very positive about the summit’s outcome, looking at Trump’s mercurial mood of late. It is anybody’s guess whether Trump will be able to convince Kim to give up his nuclear arsenal, which the leader of the isolated country has built to nuke the US from who it fears an invasion.
  • The White House confirmed that Trump and Kim will hold a one-on-one meeting at 9 am (local time), with only translators.

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