Close to a dozen chiefs of India Inc who met the United States President Donald Trump lauded him for relaxing regulations that improved the business environment. The President at the same time talked about his achievements during his Presidential term and pitched for his re-election.
Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, said they were looking to invest close to $7 billion in the US. “We are the only Indian company that does not use Chinese components,” Ambani said, to which Trump quipped, “Huawei you mean?”
In May 2019, Trump ordered the blacklisting of Huawei, accusing it of aiding the Chinese government in espionage. The US government also banned the company from accessing US supply chains, which it needs to make its products.
Ambani also said Trump’s leadership inspired tax relief in India. “India followed the US model and the first time ever there was cut in the income tax,” he said.
Among the dozen industry leaders who attended the meeting were Aditya Birla Group’s Kumar Mangalam Birla; Tata Group’s N Chandrasekaran; OYO Hotels’s Ritesh Agarwal; Baba Kalyani, managing director of Bharat Forge; Larsen & Toubro Chairman AM Naik; and Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
Commenting on the health care sector, Trump said it was an important agenda of the Republican Party. “We have got rid of individual mandate, which was disaster in Obamacare. We ended it. We decided to run it well,” said the US President.
Both Ambani and Birla said acquisitions and business deals had become easier with faster clearances. To this Trump replied: “That will only happen as long as I am there. If someone else comes, it all comes to a halt. We did some of the biggest tax cuts in history, regulations were improved. That has brought you people to the US.”
He said markets have been up by 70-80-90 per cent during his term. “Our markets will jump thousands and thousands points if I win,” Trump said.
Elaborating on the tax cuts, Trump said the US economy was improving as consumers had a lot in hand to spend. “One of the reasons we’re doing well and other countries are not doing [so], because our consumers [are] rich now. It is because of what we’ve done with a lot of things for creating jobs, but also tax cuts,” he added.
Commenting on the steel sector, represented by the Tata Group, Trump said if he were not elected, the aluminium and steel business in the US would have died. “We got that straightened out. So the aluminium and steel businesses made a big comeback.”
Trump said there were plans to relax regulations further. “We’re going to cut a lot more regulations but regulations for safety and environment will remain. But no president has ever cut anywhere close to what we’ve done,” Trump said.
The US President also talked about his country’s relations with China and said the differences over tariff were over and the money that came from the latter he “gave to the farmers”.
“We just signed a deal with China. And they’re going to be spending $250 billion a year now in our country. Close to $40-50 billion will go to the farmers for the purchase of farm products,” Trump said.