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International

India’s hitting US ‘very hard’, will talk biz with Modi: Trump

February 22, 2020 05:50 AM

COURTESY TOI FEB 22

India’s hitting US ‘very hard’, will talk biz with Modi: Trump
Chidanand.Rajghatta@timesgroup.com

Washington:

Ahead of his first visit to India, US President Donald Trump gave mixed signals about prospects for a trade deal between the two countries, saying India had been hitting the US “very hard” with high tariffs for many years and he would “talk business” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote American products.


Trump and First Lady Melania are scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi on February 24-25.

“I’m going to India next week and we’re talking trade. They’ve been hitting us very hard for many, many years,” Trump said at a ‘Keep America Great’ rally in Colorado.

He told thousands of his supporters that he “really likes” PM Modi, but downplayed expectations of a trade deal yet.


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May make ‘tremendous’ trade deal, says Trump

We’ve got to talk a little... We’ve got to talk a little business... They give us tariffs, one the highest in the world is India,” he said. More than 100 journalists are expected to accompany Air Force One on a separate charter to chronicle the trip.

Downplaying the expectation of a trade deal with India during his visit, Trump said the two countries could make a “tremendous” trade deal, but indicated that the talks on this might slow down if he did not get a good deal. “We’re going to India, and we may make a tremendous deal there,” he said in his commencement address at the Hope for Prisoners Graduation Ceremony in Las Vegas.

“Maybe we’ll slow down. We’ll do it after the election. I think that could happen too. So, we’ll see what happens,” he said, adding, “But we’re only making deals if they’re good deals because we’re putting America first. Whether people like it or not, we’re putting America first,” he added. Trump, who is seeking re-election in the November presidential polls, indicated that his visit will result in more products “proudly stamped with the beautiful phrase Made in the USA”.

On Thursday, Trump was at it again, inflating India’s population to 1.5 billion — about 10% more than current estimates — while insisting that he topped Modi in Facebook following.

“I’m going to India next week, and we’re talking about — you know, they have 1.5 billion people. And Prime Minister Modi is number two on Facebook, number two. Think of that. You know who number one is? Trump. You believe that? Number one. I just found out,” Trump said in Las Vegas.

“The head of Facebook Mr Zuckerberg came in three weeks ago. He said, ‘Congratulations.’ I said, ‘On what?’ He said, ‘You’re number one on Facebook.’ I said, ‘That's cool.’ Number one on Twitter too,” the US President said.

Trump also claimed that he had congratulated Modi about it, saying he told him, “You know, you have1.5 billion people. I have 350 million. You have an advantage

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