US President speaks of becoming friend with PM Narendra Modi and Japan’s Shinzo Abe
In a major twist in India-US relations, President Donald Trump has claimed that India wants a trade deal with Washington despite the tough stance taken by his administration on the issue.
According an agency report from Washington, President Trump wants to stop the subsidies that growing economies like India and China have been receiving as he wants the US to grow faster than any other nation. He often accuses India of imposing 100% tariffs on American products.
While addressing his supporters at a fund raising reception in South Dakota, Trump said, “Frankly, I’ll tell you, India called us the other day. They said they would like to start doing a trade deal, first time.” He did not mention who called from New Delhi to whom in Washington.
Trump’s remarks came few days after 2+2 meeting between the two countries. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis met Ministry of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on September 6.
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Donald Trump used the opportunity to praise his administration saying, “They wouldn’t talk about it with previous administrations. They were very happy with the way it was.” Trump said his trade representatives headed by Bob Lighthizer (the US Trade Representative) are very tough, smart and very good.
The United States and Japan have also started discussions over trade, he said.
Trump said that he has become friends with foreign leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “Practically, every time a foreign leader comes in to see me, whether it’s Abe of Japan, whether it’s Modi of India, I’ve become friends with all of them,” he said.
“You know, some of them are tough relationships because they’ve really been taken advantage of our country for many, many decades. But I’m friendly. They respect me. I respect them. They’re respecting our country again,” he said.
Referring to the latest GDP numbers, Trump said, “Think of this. One point in GDP, now when I started, it was down into low ones. President Obama had the lowest recovery since the Great Depression, so lowest, the worst recovery. It was like this. It was just terrible. And I’m not even knocking it. It was terrible.”
“We have such incredible growth. What’s happened has been very much of a miracle, but they haven’t seen the miracle yet. The miracle is going to start because now we’re getting things ready,” Trump said. He asked if countries like India and China can grow at a fast pace, why not the US?
According to the statistics available at ministry of external affairs website, India-US bilateral trade in goods and services increased from $104 billion in 2014 to $114 billion in 2016. The bilateral merchandise trade stood at $66.7 billion. India’s exports of goods to the US were valued at $46 billion and India’s imports of goods from US were valued at $21.7 billion.
Meanwhile, trade in services stood at $47.2 billion. India’s exports of services to the US were valued at $26.8 billion and India’s imports of services from US were valued at $20.3 billion.
Both the countries have committed to for increasing the bilateral trade to $500 billion.