President Donald Trump has criticised India’s “big tariffs” on American paper products and the iconic Harley-Davidson bikes, saying the US has been losing billions of dollars to countries like India, China and Japan.
Addressing a Republican political rally in Wisconsin state’s Green Bay city on Sunday, Trump alleged that every country has been ripping off America for years.
The President has repeatedly claimed that India is a “tariff king” and imposes “tremendously high” tariffs on American products. “For so many decades we’ve been losing tens of billions of dollars to China and Japan, and India, and name any country and we lost, but we’re not losing anymore,” he said to his cheering supporters.
He said that the US was being charged high tariffs on foreign paper products. “We charge other countries zero tariffs on foreign paper products, but when Wisconsin paper companies export it abroad… China charged us big tariffs, India charged us big tariffs, Vietnam charge us massive tariffs,” Trump said.
He claimed that people of the US demanded a government that puts America first. “And we’re doing that with China, we’re doing that with India, we’re doing that with Japan, we’re doing it with a great new trade deal, that hopefully will get approved in the house,” the President said.
Early this year at a White House event to announce his support for reciprocal tax, Trump had said that 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.
The President said that he called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. “Look at Harley-Davidson. I met with them three years ago, they would tell me tough to do business in certain kind.
I asked ‘How you’re doing in India?’ and they said, ‘Oh, we don’t do any business’. They weren’t even complaining because so many years. “So India charged a 100 per cent tariff on Harley-Davidson, but when they send their motorcycles and they may come to us, we charge them nothing,” Trump said.
“So I called up Prime Minister Modi, I said unfair, he cut it 50 per cent… But that’s not good enough because look, it’s 50 per cent to nothing. And what we’re doing is changing all of that stuff, changing all of that rapidly,” he added.
India is pressing for exemption from the high duty imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, greater market access for its products from agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering sectors.
On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access through a cut in import duties for its agriculture goods, dairy products, medical devices, IT and communication items. India has stated that it would be difficult for them to cut duties on IT products.
India’s exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were USD 26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.
Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya took to social media on Monday to lament the collapse of Jet Airways and repeated his offer of a “100 per cent payback” for state-owned Indian banks to cover his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines’ debt.
The 63-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) boss is currently appealing against his extradition order from the UK to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to an alleged Rs 9,000 crores.
Mallya drew parallels between the plight of his collapsed airline and that of Jet Airways, India’s leading private airline which grounded to a halt earlier this month amid a mounting cash crunch.
“Several Indian airlines collapsed sadly including KFA. Now the previously unthinkable has happened with the collapse of Jet,” Mallya said on Twitter on Monday.
“Genuine business failures. But I am criminally charged by CBI/ED despite offering 100% payback. Wonder why only me,” he questioned.
His latest Twitter statements echo some of his previous social media interventions on the issue, claiming that his offer to pay back the debt owed by his now-defunct airline had been rebuffed by the banks and the Indian government.
“Watched TV debate on the sad collapse of Jet which included unpaid employees and Industry veterans. Important issues on unemployment and suffering, security available to banks, prospects of revival etc. Here I am offering 100% payback of KFA loans which Banks won’t take. Why?” he said.
Mallya, who remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017, is undergoing a UK High Court appeals process against his extradition order signed off by UK home secretary Sajid Javid in February.
He has been allocated July 2 as the date for a brief hearing to convince a High Court judge that he should be given permission to proceed to a full-blown appeal against Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruling last December in favour of his extradition to India.
The judge had concluded there was “clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds” and accepted a prima facie case of fraud and a conspiracy to launder money against Mallya, as presented by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian authorities.
Meanwhile, the businessman also faces a flurry of other legal cases in UK courts related to a worldwide freezing order and a threat of foreclosure of one of his homes in central London.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the ‘mission mahamilavat’ of the opposition is keen to form a “khichdi” government at the Centre, the strings of which will remain in the hands of the Congress.
Addressing a poll rally in Jamua under Koderma Lok Sabha constituency in support of BJP candidate Annapurna Devi, Modi alleged that the grand alliance of opposition parties does not at any cost want a government with absolute majority.
“The ‘Mission Mahamilavat’ (of opposition parties) wants a khichdi government at the Centre, and its strings would remain in the hands of the Congress, as the party knows it cannot form a government on its own under any circumstance,” he said.
The Prime Minister also accused the Congress of rallying behind parties to destabilise governments.
“Around two decades ago, a similar ‘mission mahamilavat’ tried to stop Atal Bihari Vajpayee from becoming the PM… the Congress rallied behind some parties, resulting in change of governments and Prime Ministers every two-three years,” Modi said.
He said the opposition’s grand alliance and its leaders owe allegiance to nobody, and are only interested in votes.
“They are just not interested in the development of those areas where they do not see their votebank,” Modi alleged.
Without taking the name of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda — who has been charged with cases of money laundering and coal scam — Modi took a swipe at the Congress for supporting a tainted politician.
The Prime Minister claimed that peace has returned in the state in the last five years, as “villagers in Jharkhand have to no longer relocate out of fear of the Naxals”. “But, the Congress wants to scrap the sedition law, which will encourage Naxalites and terrorists,” he alleged.
BJP President Amit Shah Monday accused the opposition alliance of giving tickets to “bahubalis” (muslcemen) in Uttar Pradesh but said their presence would have no impact now as the Yogi Adityanath government hangs them upside down.
Shah also took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, saying if temperatures increase in the country, the Congress President goes abroad and even his mother cannot find him.
Addressing a Vijay Sankalp rally here, he said, “Mahamilavat wale logon ne Uttar Pradesh mein bahubalion ko ticket diya hai lekin ab yaha bahubalion ki nahi chalti”. BJP leaders have been referring to the opposition alliance as “mahamilavat”. “The mahamilavtis are yet not able to understand that Uttar Pradesh has changed …they have given tickets to bahubalis …now it is Yogi government which is at the helm,” Shah said. “Ab yahan bahubalion ki nahi chalti…ab bahubalion ko ulta latka kar seedha kar diya jata hai,”(now musclemen have no impact and government acts tough with them), he said.
Referring to chants of ‘Modi-Modi’ at election meetings, he said “it is not a mere slogan but blessings of countrymen…all people in the country want Modiji to become the prime minister again.”
Attacking the Congress president, he said “Rahul Gandhi is the mahamilavati leader of the mahagatbandhan…if temperatures in country turn high he takes leave and goes out of country…even his mother is not able to find him.”
Addressing a rally here on Monday Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and said that the TMC lawmakers expressed disgrace towards the party.
“Forty TMC MLAs are in touch with me, all its lawmakers will desert the party once BJP wins polls,” said Modi in a rally at West Bengal.
Modi also attacked the TMC chief for ‘not allowing the people of West Bengal to go and caste their vote’. He said, “TMC goons are preventing people from casting votes.”
Speaking about the accusations by the Oppositions, Modi said, “Earlier only Modi was abused, now even EVMs are. Opposition’s campaign revolves around abusing Modi. If you remove these abuses, nothing will be left.”
Mocking Banerjee for often losing her cool as she was “sensing defeat”, Modi said she cannot even dream of becoming the prime minister.
“With just a handful of seats, ‘Didi’ you can’t reach Delhi. Delhi is far away. Going to Delhi is just an excuse. Her real intention is to politically establish her nephew,” he said. Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek is a sitting MP from Diamond Harbour and the TMC candidate for the seat.
Violence marred the first few hours of polling in West Bengal, where the fourth phase of elections is underway in eight Lok Sabha constituencies.
According to a senior election official, clashes broke out between the supporters of rival parties in Nanoor, Rampurhat, Nalhati and Siuri areas of Birbhum seat, injuring several people on the two sides.
According to reports, Supriyo had a tiff with polling officials inside a booth, following which TMC supporters attacked his vehicle.
A total of 1,34,56,491 electorate is set to decide the fate of 68 candidates Monday in the eight constituencies — Baharampur, Krishnanagar, Ranaghat (SC), Burdwan East (SC), Burdwan-Durgapur, Asansol, Bolpur (SC) and Birbhum.
The EC has deployed 580 companies of central forces to man over 98 per cent of the polling booths in these constituencies to ensure free and fair polling.
The counting of votes will be done on May 23.