Donald Trump says India charges US ‘very high tariff’ on exports, reiterates call for reciprocal tax

United States President Donald Trump on Saturday claimed that India charges America very high tariffs on exports, and called for a reciprocal tax. “India is a very high-tariff nation. They charge us a lot,” he said in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, Washington DC, reported.

The US president once again cited the export of Harley Davidson motorbikes to India as an example. “When we send a motorcycle to India, it’s a 100% tariff,” Trump claimed. “We brilliantly charge them nothing. So, I want a reciprocal tax or at least, I want to charge a tax. It’s called the mirror tax, but it’s reciprocal.”

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.

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. 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.

Last year, Trump had said the United States was “getting nothing” from India’s announcement that it had slashed import duty on Harley Davidson motorbikes to 50%. Trump said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi – who the US president described as a “beautiful man” – had called him and said that India had lowered import duty on the motorbikes to 50%. “I said, okay, but so far we’re getting nothing,” Trump added. “So we get nothing, he gets 50%, and they think they’re doing us a favour. That’s not a favour.”