Does India need cheaper Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Ferraris?

US president Donald J. Trump has wailed about the high import duties levied on Harley-Davidson motorcycles to illustrate his point that there is something unfair in the way world trade is conducted.

One country, he said, imposed an import duty of 100 per cent.

The offending country: India.


From an American perspective, Trump’s view makes perfect sense: cheaper Harley-Davidsons in India means more Indians can buy them, which means more of them can be made in American factories, which means more jobs of Americans.

But what about India?

Can cheaper Harley-Davidson motorcycles ever be India’s top priority? How will they affect Indian motorcycle manufacturers? How will those gas-guzzlers affect our environment? Do we really need those large monsters on our roads?

The answer, as always, is somewhere in the middle, but sadly @realDonaldTrump doesn’t do middle.

When Sachin Tendulkar was gifted a Ferrari by its maker Fiat, he was required to pay 120 per cent in import duty. So, by Trump’s logic, do we need cheaper Ferraris in a country where between 20 per cent and 90 per cent of the population lives on less than one dollar a day?

Graphic: courtesy Quartz