The American president Donald Trump has been moving the counters of trade pacts with swiftness in recent days as if he were a man on a mission. After having secured a trade deal with Canada which would effectively modify the existing NAFTA and after securing the potentiality of having trade discussions with Japan, Trump has now trained his eyes on India.
Addressing a media conference at the White House on Monday, Trump spoke about how he perceived that there was unfairness in the current bilateral trade practices between the US and India. Trump made a specific point to the import duties levied by the Indian customs on the Harley-Davidson motorcycles entering into the Indian market.
Trump stated, "India charges us tremendous tariffs. When we send Harley Davidson motorcycles, other things to India, they charge very, very high tariffs. I have spoken to (the Indian) Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he is going to reduce them substantially."
This is the second time in 2018 that Trump has spoken about the Harley-Davidson motorcycles being at the receiving end of higher import duties in India. In February 2018, he had been exceedingly vocal about the subject and had also stated that he would be imposing counter-tariffs on the Indian exports.
Following Trump's statement, the Indian authorities had decided to cut down the import duties on the famed brand to 50% from the initial slab of 75%. Referring to the sub-continental country as the 'Tariff King', Trump also noted that the Indian government was keen on working with the government led by him.
Lastly, Trump also spoke about the advantages of tariffs and cautioned, "India charges tariffs of 100%, and then if we want to put a tariff of 25% on, people will call from Congress, 'But that's not free trade.'
And I'd look back to people and say, 'Where do these people come from? Where do they come from?' So because of the power of tariffs and the power that we have with tariffs, we, in many cases, won't even have to use them.
That's how powerful they (tariffs) are, and how good they are. But in many cases, we're not going to have to use them." The USA had recently imposed duties on about $200 billion of Chinese imports into the United States.
This was reciprocated by China imposing levies of its own on American goods. The stand-off had created significant tension in the international markets.