Trump Jr. ‘loves’ Indian media covering his business visit

Executive Vice President of The Trump organisation, Donald Trump Jr. (R), speaks during the Global Business Summit in New Delhi on Friday. (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2018
0

Trump Jr. ‘loves’ Indian media covering his business visit

NEW DELHI: The US president’s son heaped praise on the Indian media and complained of coverage at home, as he neared the end of a whirlwind trip across India promoting Trump-brand luxury real estate.
Donald Trump Jr. said at an Indian business summit Friday that life since his father’s election “has been difficult from a family standpoint,” but that he’d enjoyed the coverage he’d received during this trip.
“I love the Indian media. They are so mild and nice,” he said to audience laughter, describing how he felt his comments have at times been twisted by some US news outlets. Even when Indian outlets are aggressive in their coverage: “They’ve at least been fair,” he said.
Trump has met only with Indian reporters carefully selected by his team, and the media coverage of his visit often focused on the promised luxury of the real estate developments he is selling.
With summer already approaching, New Delhi is far too warm for cozy fires, but flames flickered on a video screen behind Trump Jr. as he was interviewed by a TV anchor with the channel co-hosting the Global Business Summit.
His speech was retitled by conference organizers only hours before it was delivered amid criticism he was pushing an ethics boundary by talking about foreign policy during a private trip focused on the family business. Very quickly, “Reshaping Indo-Pacific Ties: The Era of Cooperation” became “A Fireside Chat with Donald Trump Jr. “
Critics had said an international relations speech, especially while sharing a platform with Indian government officials, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was problematic because of the implication that he has his father’s ear.
“I am concerned that Mr. Trump’s speech will send the mistaken message that he is speaking on behalf of the president, the administration or the United States government, not as a private individual, or that he is communicating official American policy,” Sen. Robert Menendez, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a letter earlier this week to the US Embassy in New Delhi.
Menendez said he expected the US State Department and the embassy would treat Trump Jr. like any other American on private business.
On Thursday, White House spokeswoman Lindsay E. Walters said the Trump administration “takes seriously its obligation to ensure that government resources are not used to provide a private benefit to anyone.”
The State Department and the White House have said the only support that was given for the trip was related to Secret Service protection for Trump Jr.
His India visit has already raised ethical concerns.
President Trump has pledged to stay away from any new foreign business deals during his term in office to avoid potential ethical conflicts. While the projects that Trump Jr. is promoting in India were inked before his father was elected, ethics experts have long seen the use of the Trump name to promote even existing business ventures as tricky territory.
Trump Jr. and his brother Eric have been running the Trump Organization, the family’s real estate business, during their father’s presidency.
Since Tuesday, Trump Jr. has been traveling to four Indian cities to meet business partners and buyers in the luxury residential projects that bear his family’s name.
With five ventures under the Trump brand, India has the company’s largest number of projects outside the United States. The Trump Organization charges a licensing fee to its Indian partners who build the properties under the Trump name. A luxury complex is already open in the central city of Pune while the others are in varying stages of construction in Mumbai and Kolkata and two in the New Delhi suburb of Gurgaon.
Speaking to an Indian TV station during his visit, Trump Jr. dismissed as “nonsense” claims that his family business is benefiting from his father’s presidency and that critics forget the opportunities lost and don’t give the family credit for doing the right thing.


China accuses Trump of ‘blackmail’ after new tariffs threat

Updated 11 min 45 sec ago
0

China accuses Trump of ‘blackmail’ after new tariffs threat

  • Donald Trump asked the US Trade Representative to target $200 billion worth of imports for a 10 percent levy, citing China’s ‘unacceptable’ move to raise its own tariffs.
  • China had offered to ramp up purchases of American goods by $70 billion to help cut its yawning trade surplus with the United States, whereas Trump had demanded a $200 billion deficit cut

BEIJING: Beijing on Tuesday accused Donald Trump of “blackmail” and warned it would retaliate in kind after the US president threatened to impose fresh tariffs on Chinese goods, pushing the world’s two biggest economies closer to a trade war.
Trump said on Monday he had asked the US Trade Representative to target $200 billion worth of imports for a 10 percent levy, citing China’s “unacceptable” move to raise its own tariffs.
He added he would identify an extra $200 billion of goods — for a possible total of $450 billion, or most Chinese imports — “if China increases its tariffs yet again.”
“Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States,” Trump said in a statement.
Last week, he announced 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to retaliate with matching duties on US goods.
The US leader warned Friday of “additional tariffs” should Beijing hit back with tit-for-tat measures.
“The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable,” he said in explaining his latest decision.
“I have an excellent relationship with President Xi (Jinping), and we will continue working together on many issues. But the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world.”
China’s commerce ministry immediately responded by saying the US “practice of extreme pressure and blackmail departed from the consensus reached by both sides during multiple negotiations and has also greatly disappointed international society.”
“If the US acts irrationally and issues a list, China will have no choice but to take comprehensive measures of a corresponding number and quality and take strong, powerful countermeasures.”
The news hit stock markets in Asia, where Shanghai shed three percent in the morning, Hong Kong lost more than two percent and Tokyo was one percent lower.
Trump is moving forward with the measures after months of sometimes fraught shuttle diplomacy in which Chinese offers to purchase more American goods failed to assuage his grievances over a widening trade imbalance and China’s aggressive industrial development policies.
China had offered to ramp up purchases of American goods by $70 billion to help cut its yawning trade surplus with the United States, whereas Trump had demanded a $200 billion deficit cut.
The China trade offensive is only one side of Trump’s multi-front battle with the United States’ economic partners as he presses ahead with his protectionist “America First” agenda.
Since June 1, steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico have been hit with tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
“This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods,” Trump said of China’s retaliatory tariffs.
“This is unacceptable.”
Two decades ago, China’s economy was largely fueled by exports, but it has made progress in rebalancing toward domestic investment and consumption since the global financial crisis erupted last decade — limiting the damage trade tariffs could inflict on Beijing.
Still, strong exports this year have lifted the economy, which is now showing signs of losing steam under the weight of Beijing’s war on debt, launched to clean up financial risks and rein in borrowing-fueled growth.
Initially, 545 US products valued at $34 billion will be targeted by China, mimicking the Trump administration’s tariff rollout.
Beijing wants to “demonstrate that things will be done their way or not at all,” said Christopher Balding, an economics professor at Shenzhen’s HSBC Business School, who believes Chinese policymakers prefer demonstrations of “power and control” over “technical policy rightness.”
“It is a game of chicken,” Balding said.
So far Beijing has targeted major American exports to China such as soybeans, which brought in $14 billion in sales last year, and are grown in states that supported Trump during the 2016 presidential election, as well as other politically important products.
Officials also drew up a second list of $16 billion in chemical and energy products to hit with new tariffs, though China did not announce a date for imposing them.
More American targets are likely to follow as soon as the Trump administration follows through with publishing an expanded tariff list.