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I look forward to speaking with PM Modi, tariffs must be withdrawn: Donald Trump

Washington | US President Donald Trump has said that he looks forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the G20 summit which will be held from today in Osaka, Japan. President Donald Trump would be attending the G20 summit in Japan along with other world leaders like Indian PM Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and China President Xi Jinping, among others.

India and the US are currently facing heightened trade tensions after the US took out India’s name from the GSP programme and India retaliated.

Writing on Twitter, Trump said that this was unacceptable and tariffs must be withdrawn.

“I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister 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 This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!”, he said.

This will be the first meeting between PM Modi and Donald Trump after the former landed a massive victory and got elected for his second term.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday left the White House to attend the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan over the weekend to hold discussions on a host of bilateral and global issues with leaders of top 20 economies of the world.

“I’m heading to Japan, Osaka. And we are going to be meeting with (leaders from) a lot of different countries, many of whom have been taking advantage of the United States but not so much anymore, and soon not at all anymore,” Trump told reporters in the South lawns of the White House before boarding Marine One which took him to Andrews Joint Air Force Base for Air Force One for travelling to Japan.

Besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the US president will meet his Chinese and Russian counterparts Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit.

The White House said Trump and Modi would hold a bilateral meeting on June 28. This would be the third engagement of Trump on Friday, which would start with his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at 8.30 am local time. Thereafter, Modi would join Abe and Trump for a tri-lateral meeting at 9.15 am.

The Trump-Modi bilateral is scheduled to start at 9.35 am. Trump’s next engagement is with German Chancellor Angel Merkel at 10.15 am, according to the White House. He will also meet the Russian and Brazilian presidents later in the afternoon.

This would be Trump’s first meeting with Modi after his recent electoral victory. It comes in the immediate aftermath of 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.

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.

In his brief interaction with the media on the South Lawns of the White House, Trump did not mention India.

“I’m meeting with (leaders of) many countries. We’re meeting with many countries, we have many things. We’ve been ripped off by everybody over the years. They’re not ripping us off anymore. A big difference right now,” he said.

“We’re meeting with China, just so you know, China has been paying us billions and billions of dollars. Until I got here, they never paid this country 10 cents. So, we’ll see what happens with China, with Russia, with Japan, with many countries,” Trump said.

Earlier during an interview with Fox news, Trump emphasized on bilateral trade agreements with other countries.

This is Trump’s second visit to Japan in less than a month.

The G20 is an opportunity for world leaders to discuss the biggest challenges facing the global economy, the White House said.

Trump’s goal this week is to fight for the best deals and outcomes possible to lift up America’s workers, it said.

A truly level-playing field means breaking down foreign barriers — both the tariff and non-tariff kind — that have stifled America’s economy and taken away too many jobs, the White House said.

“Unlike his predecessors, Trump is willing to use every tool at his disposal to bring these countries to the negotiating table and agree to better terms for our citizens, it said.

We are a country that’s respected again, Trump said before boarding Marine One Wednesday afternoon.

(With PTI inputs)

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