United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused India of charging tariffs as high as 100% on the import of American products. “We want the tariffs removed,” he said.
Trump’s comments come just days before the first India-US “2+2 dialogue”. Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will on July 6 discuss with their counterparts Mike Pompeo and Jim Mattis the ways in which strategic and defence ties can be strengthened.
“What I would like to do and what I offered at the G7, you remember, I said let’s drop all tariffs and all barriers,” said Trump. “Is everybody ok with that? And nobody said yes. I said wait a minute folks, you’re complaining. No tariffs and no barriers, you’re on your own, let’s do it. And it was like they couldn’t leave the room fast enough.”
Last week, India announced higher duties on several goods imported from the US, in retaliation to Trump imposing hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. The goods include steel, iron, and farm products such as lentils and Bengal gram. Some of the new rates were put into effect immediately while others will come into force from August 4.
On March 9, Trump had imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items, leading to fears of a global trade war. An unidentified official had said that the US would collect $241 million (Rs 1,650 crore) worth of duties by hiking tariffs on certain steel and aluminium items from India.
Apart from India, the European Union, Canada, China and Turkey also decided to charge higher import duties on several products they import from the US. Trump said these retaliatory tariffs were “completely without justification” under international norms.
“We’re the bank that everybody wants to steal from and plunder and can’t be that way anymore,” said the US president. “We lost $500 billion last year with China. We lost $151 billion with the European Union, which puts up great barriers so that our farmers can’t trade. We can’t send farm products in for the most part. It’s very hard to send cars in.”