President Trump says “tariff king” India wants to negotiate to “Keep your president happy”

President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are shown in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on June 26, 2017. (Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford)

In a victory lap over a trade deal with Canada signed last night before a U.S.-imposed deadline, President Trump took aim at India describing it as “the tariff king” which was now willing to negotiate with Washington.

Praising his tough stance on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada, Trump indicated his approach was bringing others to the table, like India. At a press conference Oct. 1, on the White House South Lawn, President Trump said “India, which is the tariff king – they called and said they wanted to negotiate.”

Trump said when his Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asked New Delhi what led to the change of heart, India replied “We want to keep your president happy.”

“They know we are wise (to them). … India charges us tremendous tariffs. And I’ve spoken to Prime Minister Modi and he said he’s going to look into it,” Trump said, claiming that past American leaders had not broached the subject of tariffs with New Delhi. “Nobody spoke to these people,” Trump said.

“India has very very high tariffs,” Trump reiterated, naming a couple of products among them the signature motorcyle Harley Davidson, which he said had a “100 percent” tariff. “That’s very high. Whose going to buy it?” he questioned.

“My relationship with India is great, with Prime Minister Modi is great,” the President said, adding “They called us,” to negotiate tariffs, the President said, “which is shocking.”

He qualified his remarks acknowledging that “India is changing” and that “In many cases we won’t even have to use them,” he said referring to countermeasures.



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