United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticised India for imposing a high import tax on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He said the US charges no tax on Indian bike imports and that India’s new tax was an example of “unfair” trade practices.
Trump said the United States must impose “reciprocal taxes” to fight back.
“I’m not blaming India,” Trump said while talking to lawmakers in the White House. “I think it’s great that they can get away with it. I don’t know why people allowed them to get away with it, but there’s an example that’s very unfair,” he said.
Trump had first brought up the matter soon after taking office, during his inaugural address to a joint sitting of the US Congress in 2017, the Hindustan Times reported. He had not named India then, but said the tariff on Harley-Davidson was so high that it put the brand at a disadvantage against its competition.
“We pay a tremendous tax to get into their countries – motorcycles, Harley Davidson – it goes into a certain country. I won’t mention the fact that it happens to be India, in this case,” he said on Tuesday.
Trump said a “great gentleman” called him to tell him about reducing the tariff on motorcycles. “Reduced it down to 50% from 75, and even 100%,” he said about the phone call. “And yet, they sell thousands and thousands of motorcycles, which a lot of people don’t know, from India into the United States. You know what our tax is? Nothing.”
Trump’s comments come soon after India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs said in a February 12 notification that it has reduced the duty on imported motorcycles such as the Harley-Davidson and Triumph to 50%.
Trump’s claim that “thousands and thousands” of Indian motorcycles sell in the US was an exaggeration, the Hindustan Times quoted experts as saying.