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Trump Aiming Trade Guns At India, Looking For Better Deals

US president Donald Trump has referred to India as “tariff king” and raised a low-volume export– Harley-Davidson motorbikes – to call attention to India’s import duties.

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump described ties with India as a “bulwark for freedom, prosperity and peace”, spoke of his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and, trying to lighten bilateral trade talks, said Indians are “very good negotiators”.

“We’re trying very hard to make better trade deals with India, but they’re very good traders,” Trump said at a Diwali function at the White House on Tuesday, flanked by Indian-Americans from his administration and Indian envoy Navtej Sarna.

India and the US are negotiating several trade issues, including retaliatory tariffs imposed by both, market access and intellectual property rights.

Trump has referred to India as “tariff king” and raised a low-volume export– Harley-Davidson motorbikes – to call attention to India’s import duties.

Speaking generally of bilateral ties, Trump said: “The US has deep ties to the nation of India and I am grateful for my friendship with Prime Minister Modi. India is the world’s largest democracy and the relationship between our two countries connects as a bulwark for freedom, prosperity, and peace.”

He said the two countries were “very close, I think closer maybe than ever before”. He was building on Sarna’s remarks that “we are looking at one of the best times we’ve ever had for the India-US relationship”.

Trump also said to Sarna: “And we love your country. I have great, great respect for, as you know, Prime Minister Modi – tremendous respect. So just please give my warmest regards, okay?”

Standing with Trump for remarks followed by the ceremonial lighting of diyas were Indian-American officials appointed by him — acting undersecretary of state Manisha Singh, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)chairman Ajit Pai, Medicare and Medicaid Services head Seema Verma, acting chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Uttam Dhillon, and deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah. Others present were Trump’s daughter Ivanka and deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel.

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