NEWS
03/03/2019 8:58 AM IST | Updated 03/03/2019 9:03 AM IST

India A High-Tariff Nation, Says Trump

"They charge 100 percent when India sends a motorcycle to us, we brilliantly charge them nothing,” Trump said

Yuri Gripas / Reuters
US president Donald Trump

India is a very high-tariff nation, US President Donald Trump alleged on Saturday, stating that he wants a reciprocal tax or at least some kind of tax.

“India is a very high-tariff nation. They charge us a lot,” Trump said in his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in the Maryland suburb of Washington DC.

In his speech that lasted for more than two hours, Trump touched a wide range of issues including domestic, global and bilateral relations with countries like India.

Referring to his often-cited example of the iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycles, he said, “When we send a motorcycle to India, it’s a hundred percent tariff. They charge 100 percent when India sends a motorcycle to us, we brilliantly charge them nothing.” 

“So, I want a reciprocal tax or at least, I want to charge a tax. It’s called the mirror tax, but it’s reciprocal,” Trump asserted.

Early this year, at a White House event to announce his support for the reciprocal tax, Trump had said he was satisfied with the Indian decision to reduce the import tariff on Harley-Davidson motorcycles from 100 percent to 50 percent. “Even this is not enough, this is okay,” he had said.

“Look at motorcycles as an example. (In) India, it was 100 percent. I got them down to 50 percent, just by talking for about two minutes. It’s still 50 percent vs 2.4 percent (on imported motorcycles to the US). Again, other than that, it’s a very fair deal,” the president had told reporters at the White House on January 24.

On Saturday, he used the Indian example of how other countries were imposing high taxes on American products and now it was time for the US to impose a reciprocal tax. To prove his point, Trump said, he was using India as an example.

“But India is a very high-tariff nation. And they charge tremendously. So they charge a hundred. So I say, I’m not going to charge you a hundred, but I’m going to charge 25 percent, and I hear this turmoil in the Senate because we are charging 25 percent,” he said.

Trump told his supporters that there was resistance to his move from the Senate.

“I say, fellows, listen, they are charging us a hundred percent. For the exact same product, I want to charge them 25 percent. I feel so foolish charging 25 because it should be a hundred. But I’m doing 25 only because of you. I want to get your support,” he said.

Thereafter, Trump mimicked the response from the lawmakers. “Sir, that’s not free trade. Where did these people come from? Where do they come from? I need your help, I need your help, the voters’ help. Where do they come from?,” he said.

Trump said the US could not allow a country to charge it 100 percent while it got nothing for the exact same product.

“For one thing, they don’t respect us. They think we’re stupid. They don’t respect us. But let me tell you something, the world respects our country again,” he said.

“America is now booming like never before. Other countries are doing very poorly,” Trump said.