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Trump again takes aim at India’s tariffs on Harley Davidson mobikes

“I’ll win again because we are doing well. We are not fools anymore. We are not the foolish country that does so badly,” Trump asserted, citing the Harley Davidson as an example of his leadership.

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New York, June 11 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has again taken aim at India’s tariffs on Harley Davidson motorcycles ahead of his meeting with his “very good friend” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asserted that they were working on reducing them.

The 50 per cent duty on Harley Davidson bikes imported into India is “unacceptable”, Trump said on Monday when he phoned into a popular business TV programme.

He said that he had spoken to Modi about the 100 per cent tariff that India had been charging on the bike and “he reduced it by 50 per cent with one phone call. I said it’s still unacceptable because it is 50 per cent versus nothing. It’s still unacceptable. And they’re working on it”.

Trump and Modi are expected to meet in Osaka, Japan, during the G-20 Summit on June 28 and 29.

Defending his worldwide tariff war strategy, Trump reverted back to the Harley Davidson motorcycle — an icon for a large segment of his voter base — during his call to CNBC’s Squawk Box programme just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing an economy-themed visit to New Delhi.

Recalling his Harley Davidson episode, the US President said: “You look at India, a very good friend of mine, Prime Minister Modi, you take a look at what they have done, 100 per cent tax on a motorcycle. We charge them nothing. So, when Harley sends it over there, they have 100 per cent tax. When they send it, they make a tremendous number of motorcycles. When they send them, no tax”.

Trump said that with one phone call to Modi, he had the customs duties cut to 50 per cent on the bikes.

The Harley Davidsons are more symbolic than a serious tariff issue as facts around the mobikes are complicated. Most of the Harley Davidsons sold in India are low-powered models made in Gurugram and are not charged duties. Many of the more powerful models are imported as kits with only a 15 per cent tariff and assembled in India.

The mention of India seemed to come out of nowhere in the interview, because the interviewer Joe Kernen had asked him about the proposals from Democrats to break up Google and Facebook.

He accused them of colluding with the Democrats against him in the 2016 election and said he won despite it.

“I’ll win again because we are doing well. We are not fools anymore. We are not the foolish country that does so badly,” Trump asserted, citing the Harley Davidson as an example of his leadership.

Harley Davidson has been a recurring theme for Trump and this was at least the fourth time he mentioned it.

In his global tariff and trade war, Trump ended the trade concessions to India under the General Scheme of Preferences earlier this month accusing New Delhi of failing to provide “equitable and reasonable access” to its markets.

In 2018, Trump imposed 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium imports that hit India’s exports and New Delhi has threatened retaliatory tariffs on agricultural imports from the US.

Announcing his visit to India before the G-20 Summit, Pompeo said on Monday that during the trip he would build on “an incredibly important relationship” that is “closely tied economically”.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

World

Japan lodges protest with China over ships near disputed islets

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Shinzo Abe Japanese PM

Tokyo, July 3 : Japan on Friday said that it has lodged a protest with China over the intrusion by two China Coast Guard ships into Japanese territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The two Chinese ships entered Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands at around 4:50 p.m. (local time) on Thursday and appeared to be trying to approach a Japanese fishing boat about 7 kms west of Uotsuri Island, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

As the two ships are still in territorial waters around the islands, which are administered by Japan but claimed by China, Tokyo has been demanding that the ships immediately leave the area, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

“We have been strongly urging (China) to stop trying to approach the Japanese fishing boat and leave our territorial waters immediately,” Suga said at a news conference, adding: “We will continue to deal with the matter calmly and resolutely.”

Japan Coast Guard patrol ships have been keeping a close watch on the Chinese ships and ensuring the safety of the Japanese fishing boat, according to Suga, the top government spokesman.

It is the first time since June 22 that a Chinese ship has entered Japanese territorial waters around the Senkakus, which are called Diaoyu in Chinese, the japan times reported.

On that day, the city assembly of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture passed a resolution to rename an administrative area covering the Senkaku Islands.

The name change from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senkaku drew a sharp rebuke from Beijing.

China has sent its ships to waters around the islets for 80 days in a row, the longest streak since Japan put them under state control in September 2012, despite some recent thawing in bilateral relations that had been frayed over the Senkaku issue and conflicting views over history.

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Politics

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has resigned

Nonetheless, speculation over his future had swirled since mid-June, when Mr Macron declared he wanted to “reinvent” his presidency.

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Edouard Philippe

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has resigned, according to the Elysee Palace.

His departure is expected to pave the way for a government reshuffle.

Mr Philippe will continue to handle government affairs until a new cabinet is named.

Speculation had been growing that a government reshuffle was imminent – with French President Emmanuel Macron seeking to boost his green credentials and win back disillusioned voters.

Mr Philippe had actually seen his popularity increase significantly in recent weeks – despite French authorities facing criticism over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Nonetheless, speculation over his future had swirled since mid-June, when Mr Macron declared he wanted to “reinvent” his presidency.

In French government reshuffles, the prime minister tenders his or her resignation ahead of cabinet appointments but can still be renamed to the position.

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Travel

Pak PM launches initiative to protect, promote national parks

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said one of the purposes of the project is to rebuild the pandemic-hit economy and stimulate sustainable green growth.

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Imran Khan Pakistan PM

Islamabad, July 3 : Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan launched an initiative to preserve nature by protecting and promoting 15 national parks in an effort to increase the country’s forest cover.

The prime minister on Thursday inaugurated the Protected Areas Initiative which is part of his government’s Green Stimulus vision launched earlier this year to increase forest cover and create jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The government will protect, govern and manage 15 national parks ecologically,” said Khan, adding that out of these national parks nine will be new while six others were announced previously but were never protected.

He told the launching ceremony that the initiative will benefit future generations and almost 5,000 direct jobs will be generated related to these parks in the initial phase.

According to the prime minister, the national parks will be opened for the public once the government has finalized the guidelines for tourists.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said one of the purposes of the project is to rebuild the pandemic-hit economy and stimulate sustainable green growth.

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