‘When I win, the market will go up… like a rocket ship’

Ghughuti Bulletin


US President Donald Trump was at his candid best as he met top Indian CEOs, largely representing companies that have invested in the US and created jobs. In a half-hour interaction, Trump spoke on a range of issues, including cutting regulations further, tax cuts for the middle class and the presidential elections. Excerpts:
On the coronavirus outbreak:
Trump: I have spoken to President Xi (Jinping, of China) and they are working very, very hard. They’ve had a rough patch. It looks like they are getting it under control. I think that’s a problem that is going to go away. I can speak for my country, it’s under control. We do business with a lot of other countries, we take care and… we want other countries to be happy, healthy and well… We are working very hard and… we just asked for $2.5 billion to get everything ready just in case should something happen and also helping other nations.

We just did a lot of business with India where they are buying $3 billion worth of helicopters… We make the best military equipment in the world by far. The PM actually said if you were president 30 years ago we would have your equipment but they started buying many years ago from another nation and others and now they are starting to buy from us. We will be up to a pretty high number quickly.

N Chandrasekaran, Tata Sons chairman | On the group’s investment and praise for Trump’s tax reform:
Trump: Which to you is more important — the tax cuts or the regulation cuts?

Chandrasekaran: Both, both.

Trump: I have had a lot of people in your position, running the biggest companies in the world, the tax cuts are very important but the regulation cuts may have been more important.

Hari Bhartia, founder & co-chairman Jubilant Bhartia group | On Indian firms opening US manufacturing plants in the healthcare space:
Trump: Healthcare is very important to Republican party. We haven’t been talking about it, we have been doing. We have got rid of the individual mandate, which was a disaster… which ended Obamacare. We are now taking the shell of Obamacare and really running it well out of choice. I could run it well or I could run it poorly and then everybody would be upset and blame President Obama. We decided to run it well. But we would like to terminate it and put great healthcare… When you look at what Bernie Sanders and others want to do for the Democrats, it will never work because they are not able to do it.

I have been pretty good at markets, the fact that they are even looking like they are in the hunt drives our stock markets down. When I win, re-election, and I think we will, the market will go up, it’s going to be like a rocket ship. It’s going to be like last time, but even more so. I think the fact that the Democrats are so radical, so out of control and they honestly don’t know what they are doing. They want to tell you about healthcare and yet they can’t count their votes.

BVR Mohan Reddy, founder & chairman of Cyrient | On regulation:
Trump: Some of the regulations have to go through what you call statutory process. We have started the process to cut. We are going to cut a lot more regulations. And we are also going to have regulations because I think you need regulations for safety and environmental reasons. But no President has ever cut anywhere close to what we have done and I have done it three years.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman & MD, Reliance Industries | On being investors in the US, and acquisitions:
Trump: Yes, big one. Seven billion. You are doing 4G? Are you going to do 5G too? Huawei?

Ambani: We are the only network in the world that does not have a single Chinese component.

Trump: Well, that’s good… (On acquisitions): And they are getting approved a lot quicker. Well it be as long as I am here but if the wrong person gets elected, that won’t happen at all. And everything will come to a halt. Your unemployment rate will go up to 8 or 9 or 10 (%) and a lot of bad things will happen. Great job you have done. Fantastic.

Kumarmangalam Birla, chairman, Aditya Birla group | On investments in the US in the aluminium sector:
Trump: Mostly aluminium? How is it all going? We helped you a lot with it, right? Tariffs. If I wasn’t elected, the aluminium business in US would be absolutely dead. And the steel business would be dead, too. Right? They were dumping steel all over the place and bad things were happening. The aluminium business has made a comeback. That’s good.

Salil Parikh, CEO & MD, Infosys | On the company’s investments:
Trump: Thank you. I know your company. Great job. And you know… money is offshore you can bring it in before it was impossible, virtually. Both bureaucratically and the rate was so high nobody would pay. Apple is bringing $350 billion and they are building plants. They just opened one in Texas and they are building another one.

Trump: Here’s a young brilliant businessman (points to
Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of Oyo Rooms): Trump: So how many hotels you have right now?

Ritesh: 330. Worldwide over 40,000.

Trump: That’s fantastic. I actually know of your company. Good job.

Lakshmi Mittal, chairman & CEO Arcelor Mittal | On his US investments and plans for the steel sector:
Trump: He is a big guy. He is a big player. I know him very well. I have seen him on enough covers. I should know him. Go ahead. How is it going?

Mittal: I must congratulate you for creating an ease of business ecosystem.

Trump: As you know, three years ago it was just the opposite. It was one of the worst countries to do business. You couldn’t get approvals, you couldn’t get anything done. You have done an incredible job. The steel industry was dead in our country. There are certain industries you do without to be honest, we can name a lot of them, but steel you need and aluminium you need. But steel you need probably more than anything else… And the job that you have done is incredible. The biggest in the world by far.

Mittal: We are going to make about a billion dollar investment in Alabama.

Trump: That’s a great place. You let me know I will be there for the ground breaking. I know you are looking at Alabama. That’s a big plant and that’s going to be super-efficient and super modern…

One of the things that we are doing is that we are going to announce another tax cut and in not so long a period of time, largely for middle-income people because we gave them a good tax cut but we are going to give them a fairly substantial cut and that gives a lot of money to the consumers — one of the reasons we are doing well and others are not doing so well. China is having a hard time, not many are doing well. Our consumers are rich now because of what we have done with jobs but also tax cuts and they have money.

Trump’s concluding comments:
Congratulations with your success. Hope you come to the US and invest billions because I don’t view it as billions, I view it as jobs. We have great people and the greatest country in the world and this has been an honour to be here. You have a very special PM, somebody who is very special and he really knows what he is doing. Somebody said he is such a nice person and I said actually he is a very tough man but he is a nice man. But he can be as tough as they come. He has done a fantastic job. We work very closely together and we create jobs here and he creates jobs over there through yourselves. So anything we can do let us know.

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