Trump says PM Modi is a ‘beautiful man’, but the US is ‘getting nothing’ on Harley Davidson import duty

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump has once more raised the issue of high import duty on Harley Davidson motorcycles by India, stating that the US was “getting nothing” with India’s recent announcement that it had reduced customs duty on imported motorcycles from high-end brands to 50 percent. Trump added that the US wanted fair and give-and-take trade deals.

“When they (Harley Davidson) send a motorcycle to India, as an example, they have to pay 100 per cent tax, 100 per cent,” the US President said in his comments to a gathering of governors of all the states at the White House. Citing to his recent conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Trump said the “fantastic man” informed him that India has reduced tariffs on imported motorcycles, but the US was “getting nothing”.” Now, the prime minister, who I think is a fantastic man, called me the other day and said we are lowering it to 50 per cent. I said okay, but so far we’re getting nothing. So we get nothing. He gets 50 (per cent), and they think we’re doing like they’re doing us a favour. That’s not a favour,” Trump said.

“I wasn’t sure, he said it so beautifully. He’s a beautiful man. And he said, ‘I just want to inform you that we have reduced it to 75, but we have further reduced it to 50’. And I said, huh. What do I say? Am I supposed to be thrilled? And that’s not good for you people, especially as governors. It’s just not right. And we have many deals like that,” the US President added. The 71-year-old president said that the US gets “zero” when it buys an Indian motorcycle. “So when they have a motorbike, a big number, by the way — they have a company that does a lot of business. They have a motorcycle or a motorbike that comes into our country — the number is zero. We get zero. They get 100 per cent, brought down to 75; brought down, now, to 50. Okay,” he said.

He added that “It’s a great company. When I spoke with your chairman or the president of Harley, they weren’t even asking for it because they’ve been ripped off with a trade so long that they were surprised that I brought it up. I’m the one that’s pushing it more than they are, but it’s unfair. And India sells us a lot of motorbikes”. It is for the second time in a month when Trump raised the subject of high import duty on motorcycles by India. Previously, he had labeled it “unfair” and threatened to increase the tariff on import of Indian motorcycles to the US.

Trump once again named India, China to defend his policy on Paris Climate deal

Once more, the US President Donald Trump named India and China to defend his policy on climate change and repeated that these countries and some others aided the most from the Paris agreement whereas America didn’t get any benefit. In his address to the Conservation Political Action Committee, Trump said, “We knocked out the Paris Climate Accord. It would have been a disaster. Would have been disaster for our country.”

Trump was citing to his last year decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Donald Trump had announced in June last year to take out the US from the Paris Agreement on climate changes and renegotiate the deal that was agreed upon by more than 190 countries during the past Obama administration. Disagreeing that countries like India and China are advancing the most from the Paris agreement, Trump said that the pact on climate change was partial to the US, as it severely hit its jobs and businesses. “You know, basically, it said, “You have a lot of oil and gas that we found” — you know, technology has been amazing. And we found things that we never knew. But we have massive — just about the top in the world — we have massive energy reserves. We have coal. We have so much,” Trump said while defending his decision.

“And basically, they were saying, “Don’t use it. You can’t use it. So what it does is it makes us uncompetitive with other countries. It’s not going to happen, I told them. It’s not going to happen. And China — their agreement didn’t kick in until 2030. Right? Our agreement kicks in immediately. Russia — they’re allowed to go back into the 1990s, which was not a clean environmental time,” Trump added. While mentioning on India and other countries, Trump said, “Other countries, big countries — India and others — we had to pay, because they considered them a growing country.” “They were a growing country. I said, What are we? Are we allowed to grow, too? Ok? No, Are we allowed to grow? They called India a developing nation. They call China a developing nation. But the United States? We’re developed. We can pay,” Trump said.

President Trump asked if people understood about the Paris Agreement and said that his nation is in favor of his decision. “Because it sounds so good. It’s like some of the environmental regulations that I cut. They have the most beautiful titles. And sometimes, I’d say, “Look, I’m just going to close my eyes and sign this, because you know what? I’m going to get killed on this one. And I get so much thanks. The country knows what I’m doing,” the US President added. Trump said that “We couldn’t build. We couldn’t farm. If you had a puddle on your land, they called it a lake for the purposes of environmental. I mean, it’s crazy. It’s crazy”.

PM Modi, Trump discuss Maldives political crisis over phone call

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump have communicated concern about the political crisis in the Maldives over a phone call, as they also talked about the condition in Afghanistan and increasing security in Indo-Pacific region, the White House said. “Both leaders expressed concern about the political crisis in the Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law,” the White House said in the readout of the phone conversation between Trump and Modi.

On last Thursday, Maldives jumped into a political chaos when the top court ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, continuing that their trials were “politically motivated and flawed”. The Yameen government has rejected to execute the ruling, inciting a series of protests in Maldives capital, Male. The Supreme Court Chief of Maldives Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were detained hours following Yameen announced a state of emergency. The White House added that the two leaders also promised to keep on working together to boost security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. The White House said, “Affirming President Trump’s South Asia strategy, they reiterated their commitment to supporting Afghanistan’s security and stability”.

The PM Modi and President Trump also talked about Myanmar and ways to address the dilemma of the Rohingya refugees. Previously, there are some 680,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh laying excessive pressure on the economy of Bangladesh. In recent past, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on a roadmap of return of these refugees to their homes in Myanmar. The US, on the other hand, considers that it is not the perfect time for the return of Rohingya refugees. Trump and Modi also discussed the steps to make sure denuclearization of North Korea, according to the White House. “Finally, the leaders agreed to strengthen security and economic cooperation as they look forward to the ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue between their defence and diplomatic officials in April,” the White House said.

The Jerusalem Jugglery

The Trump administration has declared to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This breaks the long sustained stand of the US that supported the claims of the Palestinians over the sacred land.

The diplomatic shift in the US has reared apprehensions in the west Asian region that US is pushing ahead its oil diplomacy in a concerted move to put the region in a different position from its past. Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, have supported the clean up efforts of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Salman. The clean up followed by Prince Salman is projected to increase the formidability of the unstable Arabian Kingdom, which will promote itself to create a new pole.

The US policy in the western Asia has been based around the oil diplomacy for over the years. The Iranian rise has been a threat to create a strong pole in the OPEC community. The US has always condemned the rise of Iran amid fears that the Muslim world may move towards a stable and unified outlook that will harm the future of the oil diplomacy of the US.

The US also sustained the Palestininan cause so far to create a balance in the field of Israeli dominance in the region. In the shifting western politics, the US is seeing Israel as a trusted ally to create a direct and a reliable base in the middle east that also acts as a counter to the Northern African region.

The Northern African region is seeing the rise of Turkey and Egypt that have cemented their ties while the Russians seem to be playing the good host to the improving relations. The US is seeking to curb its expenses and fortifying its position in the global politics has called for seeking Israel’s support to follow the charter of moving forward with its oil diplomacy, and consolidating its frail economy.

The move taken by the US has had wide repercussions with Saudi officials and Palestinian officials condemning the move, while there is a speculation that Jared Kuhsner has assured Prince Salman and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deep and favourable engagement with the two for backing Israel.

The Russians have not given any comment, while Benjamin Netanyahu has asked other world powers to follow the lead of the US and has urged the global fraternity to support its claim over the sacred land.

A strong Israel backed by Arabia and Palestine will counter Russia backed Iran and Syria, who are the largest economic powers, while Qatar will also align with the Russians in today’s time.

The Indians will have to look for a balanced stand, as supporting any cause that may mean detrimental to the world equations. The Indian stand has been to support the claims of Palestine and has tried to promote development that has been sponsored by Israel. This will lead to a stable oil market, and the Indians will benefit from the OPEC prices which shall remain stable if the better part of the global fraternity supports a stable middle east.

Trump expresses ‘satisfaction’ over Global Entrepreneurship Summit: White House

President Trump calls up Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid which both the leaders “expressed satisfaction” over the recently completed Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by the US and India last month in Hyderabad, the White House said on Saturday. The President Trump’s daughter Ivanka had headed the US delegation at the three-day event, who’s also his senior advisor.

On Friday, President Trump spoke to PM Modi over the phone. In a brief readout of the call, the White House said that “The leaders expressed satisfaction with the recent Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), co-hosted by the United States and India, which brought together entrepreneurs and investors from around the world, including 38 US states, the District of Colombia, and Puerto Rico”. The focus of a summit of this year was on supporting women entrepreneurs and supporting economic growth globally.

The State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Thursday that “For all of our progress, gender divides on access to technology, nutrition, and health, preventing women, their families, and their communities from reaching their full potential”. On November 28, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the launch of the summit with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defense minister Nirmala Sitaraman. Almost 1,500 delegates including entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem supporters from 150 nations took part in the event, more than half of them were women.

World will not tolerate North Korea’s ‘nuclear blackmail’, says US President Trump

The US President Donald Trump has cautioned North Korea that the world will not tolerate what he called its “nuclear blackmail”, promising an international campaign of “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang, including by China. Just a day after returning from his marathon trip to Asia, Trump said in a televised statement that “I made clear that we will not allow this twisted dictatorship to hold the world hostage to nuclear blackmail”.

Trump added that Chinese leader Xi Jinping had pledged to use Beijing’s economic influence over Pyongyang to complete denuclearization in the North. The US leader said that “President Xi recognizes that North Korea is a great threat to China”. “President Xi recognizes that a nuclear North Korea is a grave threat to China, and we agreed that we would not accept a so-called “freeze for freeze” agreement like those that have consistently failed in the past. We made that time is running out and we made it clear, and all options remain on the table,” said President Trump. He added that they are responding North Korea by finishing the trade, restricting financial ties to the regime and sacking North Korean diplomats and workers.

US, India cooperation can increase beyond bilateral ties, says PM Modi to Trump

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held across-the-board talks with US President Donald Trump and said him that both nations can go beyond bilateral ties and work together for the future of Asia, echoing their developing convergence on strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific region. PM Modi also assured Trump in the meeting that took place on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in the Philippines that India will try to “live up to the expectations” of the US and also thanked the US President for speaking “highly” about India during his trips.

“The cooperation between India and US can rise beyond bilateral cooperation and both countries can work for the future of Asia and the world…We are moving ahead together on many issues,” PM Modi said. Modi added that “Wherever President Trump has gone and wherever he got an opportunity to talk about India, he spoke very highly about India. He expressed optimism about India and I am assuring that the expectation the world has, the expectation the US has, India has been trying to live up to that expectation and will continue to do it”.

Talking about the US President, Trump described Modi as a friend. As per the transcript released by the White House, Trump said that “It’s great to have Prime Minister Modi here. We’ve had him at the White House, and he’s become a friend of ours and a great gentleman doing a fantastic job in bringing around lots of factions in India — bringing them all together”. “It’s a lot of good reports coming out of India. So I want to congratulate you,” he said to Modi.

It is learnt that two leaders have talked about the security situation in the region alongside some other issues of mutual interests including ways to extra boost bilateral trade. This move is to start the quadrilateral alliance that comes in the background of increasing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. The US, on the other hand, has been favoring a bigger role for India in the purposefully important Indo-Pacific region. On Friday, Trump has praised India’s “astounding” growth after it opened up its economy and also applauded PM Modi, saying that he has been working successfully to bring the immense country and its people together.

While speaking at the gathering of CEOs on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnamese City of Danang, President Trump mentioned India as one of the countries in the Indo-Pacific region making progress. The US President also praised India as a sovereign democracy with a population of more than 1 billion people as well as the largest democracy in the world.