US President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, once again ignited the issue of high import duty on the Harley-Davidson motorbikes by India, saying that the US is “getting nothing” with the recent announcement of slashed customs duty.
The BJP government, in the Union Budget of 2018, announced that it had slashed the customs duty on imported motorcycles from high-end brands to 50 per cent.
Trump added that the US wanted fair and reciprocal trade deals. Twump, while addressing a gathering of governors of all the states at the White House, said, “When they (Harley Davidson) send a motorcycle to India, as an example, they have to pay 100 per cent tax -- 100 per cent.”
Referring to his recent conversation with PM Modi, he mocked Modi as a ‘fantastic man’ informed him that India has reduced tariffs on imported motorcycles, but the US was “getting nothing” out of this development.
He said, “Now, the prime minister, 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. So we get nothing. He gets 50 (per cent), and they think we're doing -- like they're doing us a favour. That's not a favour.”
We want fair trade deals. Harley Davidson sends motorcycles to India, they have to pay 100% tax. When I spoke to PM (Modi) he said we are lowering it to 50% but so far we are getting nothing. He gets 50%, he thinks, he is doing us a favour, but that is not a favour: Donald Trump pic.twitter.com/vPy3M6P4NX— ANI (@ANI) February 27, 2018
“I wasn't sure -- he said it so beautifully. He's a beautiful man. And he 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? And that's not good for you people, especially as governors. It's just not right. And we have many deals like that,” he added.
He said the US gets “zero” profit when it buys an Indian motorcycle. He continued, “So when they have a motorbike -- a big number, by the way -- they have a company that does a lot of business. They have a motorcycle or a motorbike that comes into our country -- the number is zero. We get zero. They get 100 per cent, brought down to 75; brought down, now, to 50. Okay.”
India sells us a lot of motorbikes, we get zero percent tax, he (PM Modi) said it so beautifully, he is a beautiful man and he said I just want to inform you that we have reduced it (tax) to 50%. What am I supposed to say, am I supposed to be thrilled?: US President Donald Trump pic.twitter.com/40U9bAz2kE— ANI (@ANI) February 27, 2018
He praised the Harley-Davidson company, saying, “It's a great company. When I spoke with your chairman or the president of Harley, they weren't even asking for it because they've been ripped off with trade so long that they were surprised that I brought it up. I'm the one that's pushing it more than they are, but it's unfair. And India sells us a lot of motorbikes.”
This is the second time in the month when Trump raised the issue of high import duty on motorcycles in India. Earlier, he had called it ‘unfair’ and threatened to increase the tariff on import of Indian motorcycles to the US.