Former US President Donald Trump, currently seeking re-election, has once again brought up the issue of India’s high tariffs on specific American goods, notably the iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He suggested that if re-elected in the 2024 presidential elections, he would impose reciprocal taxes.
During his first term in office, Trump referred to India as a “tariff king” and, in May 2019, terminated India’s preferential market access through the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, alleging that India had not provided the United States with “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”
In an interview with Larry Kudlow of Fox Business News, Trump criticized India’s tax rates, which he claimed were excessively high.
“The other thing I want to have is a matching tax where, if India charges us — India is known for its high tariffs. I mean, I saw it with Harley-Davidson. I was wondering, how do you do business in a place like India? Oh, not very well, sir. Why? They impose tariffs of 100 percent, 150 percent, and even 200 percent,” the former president remarked.
“So, I asked, why can they sell their Indian motorbike in our country with no tax or tariff, but when we export a Harley to India — they weren’t doing any business. I asked, why aren’t you doing business with India? The tariffs are so high that nobody wants it. But what they want us to do is build a plant over there, and then there will be no tariff,” Trump explained.
“They said, well, that’s not good. That’s not our deal, okay? That’s not our deal. And I was quite firm with them. But India is a significant player in this. Brazil also imposes heavy tariffs, I mean, very significant ones. We had some senators, like one from Pennsylvania, whom I admire. But this individual was just terrible. I asked him, if India is charging us 200 percent, and we charge them nothing for their products, can we charge them 100 percent? No, sir, that’s not free trade. Can we charge them 50 percent? No, sir. Twenty-five percent, 10 percent, anything? No. I said, what’s going on? Something is wrong. You know what I mean,” he stated.
“If India is charging us, then what I want is reciprocity. Call it whatever you want. If they are charging us, we charge them,” Trump responded to a question.
Currently, Trump leads the Republican presidential primaries, with over half of GOP votes, according to major national polls, despite facing various legal cases and indictments.