Donald Trump says India's decision to cut Harley-Davidson tariffs by half fair deal

India had last February slashed the customs duty on imported motorcycles like Harley-Davidson to 50 per cent after Trump threatened to increase the tariff on import of Indian bikes to the US.

Published: 25th January 2019 10:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th January 2019 10:35 AM   |  A+A-

President Donald Trump gestures while speaking about tariffs, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. | AP

Express News Service

WASHINGTON: After taking all of “two minutes” to force India to cut the tariffs on motorcycles imported from US by half, US President Donald Trump is now hoping to do something similar for American liquor.

Days after Trump had threatened to hike tariffs on Indian bikes imported by the US in February last year, India had halved the duty on motorcycles imported from the US, mostly from the Harley Davidson stable. “Look at motorcycles as an example,” Trump declared at a White House event to push for a Reciprocal Trade Act Thursday, which would expand the president’s authority to set new tariffs on US trading partners.

“(In) India, it was 100 per cent. I got them down to 50 per cent, just by talking for about two minutes. It’s still 50 per cent vs 2.4 per cent (on motorcycles imported to the US). Again, other than that, it’s a very fair deal. …India has a very high tariff. They charge a lot of tariffs. You look at whisky... India gets 150 per cent, we get nothing.”

To make his point, he produced a slide showing examples of nations which imposed far higher taxes on imports from the US compared to US tariffs on the import on the same products.  

India is mentioned twice in the list of seven examples.

Lobbying for the Reciprocal Trade Act, he said many nations had taken advantage of the US, and this Act would resolve the problem.

“Whatever the tariff for a foreign country is, we place the same tariff on us,” he said. “They also have barriers where we can’t go in. They have trade barriers that make it impossible for us to sell our farm products...

“This is nothing new…tariffs are President Trump’s pet peeve, and we are trying to deal with it without impacting our own interests,” said an Indian official.

“But I am told at the end of the day, his bill was supported by only 19 Republican lawmakers on Thursday”, he said. 


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