India's "very high" tariffs on US goods are "unacceptable" and must be withdrawn, President Donald Trump demanded on Thursday ahead of his crucial meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Japan which is likely to be dominated by growing global trade frictions.
President Trump, championing his 'America First' policy has been a vocal critic of India for levying "tremendously high" duties on US products, has described the country as a "tariff king".
"I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!" Trump said in a tweet early this morning on his way to Osaka, where the G20 Summit will open on Friday.
Trump will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi on Friday on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit. This would be his first meeting with Modi after the BJP's landslide win in the general elections.
Trump's tweet came a day after the India visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during which he met Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and discussed a number of issues, including the trade friction.
The Trump-Modi meeting assumes significance in the wake of the strain that has popped up in the bilateral relationship on a host of trade and economic issues.
On Wednesday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo was in New Delhi and called on Prime Minister Modi and held talks with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
"On some outstanding issues related to trade, I pushed for a constructive and pragmatic view. The real test of our intentions will be our ability to deal with this," said Jaishankar.
Asserting that "great friends are bound to have disagreements", Pompeo said the US has been clear in seeking greater market access and the removal of trade barriers in its economic relationship with India.
In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Anjali Prasad, former Ambassador to WTO and VS Krishnan of EY India discussed Trump’s warning to India saying India’s recent tariff hike is unacceptable.