Claiming that India imposes excessively high tax rates on American products, Former United States President Donald Trump has said that he will introduce reciprocal taxes if he comes to power in 2024.
Trump, who served as the president of the United States from 2016 to 2020, is once again seeking nomination from the Republican party for next year’s election for the top post. He made the comments about India’s tax rates in an interview with Fox Business News on August 19.
Trump was asked whether he would want tariffs on foreign goods coming into the US in order to reduce taxes on American goods and families. To this, he said that the US should impose a “matching tax” in response to tariffs imposed by foreign countries on goods.
“India is very big with tariffs,” Trump said. “I mean, I saw it with Harley-Davidson. I was saying, how do you do in a place like India? Oh, no good, sir. Why? They have 100% and 150% and 200% tariffs.”
The 77-year-old Republican leader said: “So, I said, so they can sell their Indian motorbike. They can sell that into our country with no tax, no tariff, but when you make a Harley, when you send it over there...I said, how come you don’t do business with India? The tariff is so high that nobody wants it. But what they want us to do is, they want us to go over and build a plant, and then you have no tariff.”
Trump then said that if India is charging such high taxes, he would want to have “retribution”.
“You could call it whatever you want,” he added. “If they charge us, we charge them.”
In February 2018, India had slashed the customs duty on imported motorcycles such as those of Harley Davidson and Triumph after Trump threatened to impose retaliatory taxes. He had said the US charges no tax on Indian bike imports, and that India’s new tax was an example of “unfair” trade practices.
In March 2019 too, Trump called for a reciprocal tax on Indian goods, again citing the export of Harley Davidson motorbikes as an example.
Three months later, the US terminated the designation of India as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences Programme, claiming that India had not assured the US that it would “provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets”.
Under the programme, certain products can enter the US duty-free if beneficiary developing countries meet the eligibility criteria established by its Congress.
India was the largest beneficiary of the GSP programme in 2017, which allowed for $5.6 billion, around Rs 3,896 crore, worth of Indian exports to enter the country duty-free.