Washington: Donald Trump has again criticised India's high import tariff on the iconic Harley Davidson motorcycles as "unacceptable" while acknowledging that his "good friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reduced it from 100 per cent to 50 per cent, even as the US President rued that America is a bank that everybody wants to "rob".
Trump said the United States, under his leadership, is a country that can no longer be fooled.
"We're not the foolish country that does so badly. You look at India, very good friend of mine, Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, you take a look at what they've done, 100 per cent tax on a motorcycle. We charge them nothing," Trump told CBS news in an interview on Monday.
Trump was referring to the import tariff on the Harley Davidson motorcycles, an issue that has been close to his heart and wants India to reduce it to zero.
"So, when Harley sends over there, they have 100 per cent tax. When they (India) send in — they make a tremendous number of motorcycles — when they send them in, no tax. I called him. I said it's unacceptable,” Trump said, referring to his conversation with Prime Minister Modi.
"He (Modi) reduced it by 50 per cent with one phone call. I said it's still unacceptable because it's 50 per cent versus nothing. It's still unacceptable. And they're working on it," he said, indicating that the two countries are still in talks to resolve the issue of import tariffs on American motorcycles.
India had last February slashed the customs duty on imported motorcycles like Harley-Davidson to 50 per cent after Trump called it "unfair" and threatened to increase the tariff on import of Indian bikes to the US. Trump in the past has criticised India, saying it is one of the world's "highest taxing nations".
The US President has repeatedly claimed that India is a "tariff king" and imposes "tremendously high" tariffs on American products. "But if I didn't, if we didn't have the power of what we have, and if we weren't the bank--well, if we weren't the bank we wouldn't even be talking about it because nobody would care.
"But we're the bank that everybody wants to rob, and that's what they've been doing for a long period of time. USD 800 billion we have in trade deficits with other countries. So you tell me who made those deals,” he said in response to a question.