Washington, April 8: After China, US President Donald Trump is gunning for India’s high-import tariff regime on American made goods and urged his administration officials to work on the tariff imbalance.
Trump has previously singled out India and criticised it as one of the world's "highest taxing nations". The US President has repeatedly claimed that India is a "tariff king" and imposes "tremendously high" tariffs on American products.
The US President again brought up India’s tariff rates during an address to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas on Saturday. Trump said: "We have a case where a certain country, India, is charging us... what great country, great friend, Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi -- charging us over 100 per cent for many things". The United States, he said, is charging India "nothing for similar or same" products.
He cited India as a country other than China which imposes high tariffs on American products. India, he alleged, continues to wage "stupid trade" and unfair trade practices, and called out Prime Minister Modi for the trade imbalance with the US.
In his speech, he also accused certain senators of putting up resistance to his idea of imposing reciprocal tariff on India. "I have Senators who say, you can't do that. It's not free trade. When did they come from? Where did they come from? It's not free trade (with India)," he said, ramping up his rhetoric against India's trade and tariff policies.
He said he has asked his senior administration officials to work on this. "Will you please work on them? It's the craziest thing. It's stupid trade. We have so much stupid trade," Trump said.
Trump said that as a result of such trade policies, the US has lost out on trade revenue for many years, pegging the figure at USD $800 billion a year on trade. "Who the hell makes these deals? Those are not good negotiators. Actually, Democrats made a lot of them though. But Republicans met a lot of up too, that's the amazing thing. They made USD 800 billion. But we're getting it back. We'll get to give back. We're going to be getting a lot of it.
Trump has already announced that he will withdraw trade concessions granted to India under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) due to India’s trade policies that prevent American products like dairy and medical devices from being sold at the right price. India’s cap on the prices of medical devices such as stents had impacted American manufacturers while non-certified American dairy products are not allowed in to the Indian market.
Early this year at a White House event to announce his support for reciprocal tax, Trump said he was satisfied with the Indian decision to reduce the import tariff on high-end Harley-Davidson motorcycles from 100 per cent to 50 per cent. But his recent statements indicate that he wants an overhaul of the tariff system that India has in place for all American goods. (With PTI inputs)