New Delhi: US President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted that he looks forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Japan and speak to him about India’s ‘very huge tariffs against the United States’.
In a strong-worded message that ended with an exclamation mark, Trump wrote, “I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!”
After waging a damaging trade war on China, Trump seems to have turned to India. Earlier this month, Washington ended the preferential trade treatment to Indian goods that allowed their duty-free entry into the US. India hit back by imposing tariffs on US products which it had held off for long.
This issue was expected to figure against the backdrop of complaints by the US about trade deficit being tilted towards India.
Earlier on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had also said he aimed to convey to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that India is not a high tariff country.
“The situation is not as bad as has been made out to be,” a source said, adding there needs to be better understanding and articulation. The sources said that high tariffs on some goods are allowed under the WTO rules and every country applies it. “That doesn’t make us high tariff country,” they said.
The talks held between Jaishankar and Pompeo marked the first high-level contact between the two sides in Modi government’s second term, and have set the stage for a meeting between the Indian Prime Minister and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Japan’s Osaka.
In a joint interaction with the media after the talks, Pompeo referred to the “strides” made in the bilateral relations in the recent decades and expressed confidence that the two sides will build the ties further. He said the two sides discussed issues like greater market access in the “spirit of friendship” and hoped for good outcomes for which “we will keep working”.