The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2020

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP
AT A BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE

Roosevelt House
New Delhi, India

February 25, 2020


3:34 P.M. IST

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Please. Please. It’s an honor to be with you. I have a whole big, beautiful speech to give, but I just gave two of them, and I thought we’d do, maybe, a little question and answer. You’ve heard it before and -- so we could do that.

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I just want to say we’ve had a tremendous time in India. Prime Minister Modi is a fantastic man doing a fantastic job. He’s a real friend of mine. And, you know, you always say that in a guarded way. He’s a friend, but he loves India. And I’m a friend, but I love the USA. But he’s done an incredible job. And we’re working together, I would say, better than our countries have ever worked before.

I know many of the people in the room by name and reputation. Incredible job that you’ve done. Incredible job that you’ve done. Really inspirational for not only your country, but really inspirational for anybody looking to be a successful businessperson. And there are plenty of them around.

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The job that you have all done is incredible. And we know many of you have invested in the United States, and you have to say, “Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. President. You’ve made us even richer.” (Laughter.)

But the fact is, other than yesterday -- which was something pretty bad, with respect to the virus, and we’ll see what happens -- I see the futures are up today, up fairly substantially. But that’s a very serious thing, but we think we’re in very good shape in the United States. We’ve essentially closed the border to areas where we had to close them. And we had very few. We took in 32 people over the last two days because they were sick and they’re Americans, and they’re great people. You know, what are you going to do? They’re in quarantine.

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But we had, essentially, 12 people. Many of them are getting better now. Soon, they’ll all be better, we hope. And we’re watching very carefully. So we’ve had a very, very good stretch of -- let’s just say we’re fortunate so far. And we think it’s going to remain that way.

China is working very, very hard. I have spoken to President Xi, and they’re working very hard. And if you know anything about him, I think he’ll be in pretty good shape. They’re -- they’ve had a rough patch, and I think right now they have it -- it looks like they’re getting it under control more and more. They’re getting it more and more under control.

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So I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away. But we lost almost 1,000 points yesterday on the market, and that’s something. You know, things like that happen where -- and you have it in your business all the time -- it had nothing to do with you; it’s an outside source that nobody would have ever predicted. If you go back six months or three months ago, nobody would have ever predicted.

But let’s see, I think it’s going to be under control. And I think I can speak for our country, for -- our country is under control. But again, we do business with a lot of other countries. We take care -- we work with other countries. We want other countries to be happy, healthy, and well. They’ve got to be happy, healthy, and well. It’s very simple.

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And so let’s see how it all works out, but I think it’s going to work out fine. I hope so. We’re working very hard. We’re spending a tremendous amount of money also on -- we just asked for two and a half-billion dollars on getting everything ready just in case something should happen, and also helping other nations that really aren’t equipped to do it.

So with that, it’s an honor to be with you. And if you’d like to ask some questions and find out how much you should invest in the United States of America, I’ll tell you exactly where to invest and how to invest.

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We just did a lot of business with India, where they’re buying $3 billion worth of helicopters -- great helicopter. We have helicopters like -- we make the best military equipment in the world, by far.

And, you know, the Prime Minister actually said, “If you were President 30 years ago, we’d have all your equipment.” But they started buying many years ago from another nation and others. And now they’re starting to buy from us. So that’s an honor.

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But we’re up to a pretty high number. We’ll be up very quickly to a pretty high number. And we do make, by far, the best. And they want to have the best, so that’s what we do.

So thank you all very much. If the press wants to stay for a couple of questions -- you know, we’re going to be having a news conference at 5 o’clock, so you can go to that, or you could stay and hear some of these questions from -- truly some of the greatest business leaders anywhere in the world.

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Now, if you’d like to do -- I could do this, Steve: I could read the book for you and we could have nice, beautiful, little speech. It will take five minutes and you’ll be -- you’ll fall asleep. And they’ll be -- well, they might find it interesting. (Laughter.) I don’t know about them, but you guys have heard it before.

But please, if you have any questions, please.

Anybody? Okay, let’s go home. (Laughter.) Boy, we must have -- we must have done a very good job if you don’t have -- do you want to say something about the energy business?

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SECRETARY BROUILLETTE: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead. Please. And how are we doing?

SECRETARY BROUILLETTE: We're doing great, sir. My name is Dan Brouillette. I have the privilege of serving the United States and the President as his Secretary of Energy. We've had great conversations here in India with my counterpart, Minister Pradhan. I expect that in the very near future we're going to have some new energy deals.

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And so far -- (music begins to play). Is that noise?

THE PRESIDENT: It sounds nice. (Laughter.) It sounds like a Trump rally, actually. (Laughter.) We're actually saying hello to the embassy people as soon as we finish. (Laughter.)

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SECRETARY BROUILLETTE: Sir, I'll just end with this: In last two years, we've seen a remarkable uptick in the purchases of U.S. oil and gas by India. And when the President was elected in 2017, that number was approximately 25,000 barrels per day of crude oil. It is now over 250,000 barrels per day. A tenfold increase. And we expect it --

THE PRESIDENT: It's going up.

SECRETARY BROUILLETTE: It will only get better from here.

THE PRESIDENT: It's going up very, very rapidly. Thank you very much, Dan. Really, a great job. Where is Robert?

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Yes, please.

PARTICIPANT: I think we need to hear why some of these companies have decided to invest in the United States to make manufacturing investments.

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THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Good. Would anybody like to say? Go ahead. Please.

PARTICIPANT: Mr. President, I’m (inaudible) from the (inaudible) Group.

THE PRESIDENT: Yep.

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.) Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for making us richer. (Laughter.)

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THE PRESIDENT: Good.

PARTICIPANT: And our group has 10 different companies in the United States. We have annual revenues of close to (inaudible) billion dollars, and we have manufacturing (inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: Great job. Yeah.

PARTICIPANT: And then we have our chemicals plant in (inaudible). And we employ about (inaudible) people. And your tax reforms is exceptionally (inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: So which to you is more important: the tax cuts -- we did massive tax cuts --

PARTICIPANT: No, no. It is a combination. Taxes --

THE PRESIDENT: -- or the regulation cuts?

PARTICIPANT: Both. Both.

THE PRESIDENT: Because I've had a lot of people in your positions running the biggest companies in the world saying the tax cuts are very important, but the regulation cuts may have been more important.

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PARTICIPANT: So, the regulation cuts are more important (inaudible) start new businesses as well.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

THE PRESIDENT: For example, (inaudible) business we have some issues, which (inaudible). And we are (inaudible). And we are (inaudible) the skills, and we are going to work with Ivanka. We have already (inaudible) skill 1 million people (inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: Oh, that’s fantastic. Thank you. That’s great.

PARTICIPANT: So we are deeply engaged with your country.

THE PRESIDENT: I heard that you were doing that, and I really appreciate it and Ivanka appreciates it.

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You know, she started it off -- she wanted to get 500,000 people jobs. And if you know her, within about two weeks she had that one done. And I think you're up to over 15 million people being trained by great companies. Some great companies. Walmart was very much instrumental and some of the companies in this room.

MS. TRUMP: Apple. Salesforce.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. They’ve done a great --

MS. TRUMP: So many companies. Both of them -- they can make an impact.

THE PRESIDENT: So it’s up to 15. And I don’t think government can teach jobs like that. In other words, you teach something and it's complex stuff. Government is not equipped to do that.

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We can put all of the money we want into government to do it, and they're just not equipped to do it. So thank you very much. Thanks fantastic. Great story. Thank you.

Yes, sir.

MR. MAHINDRA: Mr. President, you talked about regulations, so I do want to confirm that, in 2017, we put out the first automotive assembly plant in southeast Michigan in 25 years.

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THE PRESIDENT: Right. That’s right.

MR. MAHINDRA: It's making off-roading utility vehicles. And speaking with (inaudible) set up the company to get operations going, we have not experienced anywhere in the world. So we've invested $1 billion. And right now, we're in the short list of the pick for the United States Postal Service new delivery van -- a decision which should come by the end of the year. And when that comes through, we will very happily put in another billion and employ about 2,000 people.

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THE PRESIDENT: Very good. You’ve done a great job. So when are the bids due? When are they due?

MR. MAHINDRA: We are told sometime around August.

THE PRESIDENT: How many vans is it that you'd be making?

MR. MAHINDRA: About 180,000.

THE PRESIDENT: Wow. That’s a big business, isn't it?

MR. MAHINDRA: When we were told, we were told that, as you know, the Postal Service vans are actually -- they are right hand drive.

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THE PRESIDENT: Right. That’s right.

MR. MAHINDRA: They have diesel. So guess who makes right-handed driving vehicles (inaudible)? That’s all Indian automakers. So that’s what we're waiting for.

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THE PRESIDENT: Good. Well, good luck. That’s great. That’s good luck.

Yes, sir. Please.

PARTICIPANT: My name is (inaudible) part of (inaudible). We have invested -- we've invested almost half a billion dollars in the pharmaceutical, very sophisticated (inaudible) like nuclear, medicine, energy.

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We are present in 22 states. We have almost 2,000 people. And another thing that we are doing is starting drug (inaudible) in America for oncology, and (inaudible) for new drugs, especially for therapies, which are very limited drugs available.

So my question to you is, really, on the healthcare side, how do you see it for companies like ours coming in from India and setting up manufacturing plants in the States?

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THE PRESIDENT: Right. Healthcare is very important to the Republican Party, I will tell you. And we haven’t been talking about it. We've been doing -- we got rid of the individual mandate, which was a disaster in Obamacare, which really ended Obamacare. We're now taking the shell of Obamacare and really running it well. I had a choice: I could run it well or I could run it poorly. Then everybody would be upset and they'd blame President Obama. We decided to run it well, but would like to terminate it and put in great healthcare. We can do that.

When you look at single-payer, when you look at what Bernie Sanders and others want to do for the Democrats, it will never work because they're never going to be able to do it. It's not going to work, number one. And number two, it's not going to be good even if it did work.

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And it's totally unaffordable, which for you would be a big problem. And I happen to think -- I've been pretty good at markets. The fact that they are even looking like they're in the hunt, I think drives our stock market down.

When we win reelection -- and I think we will -- when we win, I think the market is going to go up like -- it's going to be like a rocket ship. Like last time, but even more so.

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I think the fact that the Democrats are so radical, so out of control, they honestly don’t know what they're doing. You see what's happening. They want to tell you about healthcare and yet they can't count their votes. In fact, now they're even saying that -- if you look at Nevada, that’s all messed up with the vote count, and some of them are questioning the votes, but certainly Iowa was -- I've never seen anything like it and I've been watching politics for a long time. Been involved in it now for a while. And I've never seen anything like it.

So -- but I think the fact that there -- you know, there's an election coming up. I think, you know, a lot of people think we're going to win the election. I feel we’re going to win the election because what we've done for jobs and for the military, for the vets, what we've done for healthcare, what we've done for healthcare is incredible, including giving options to Obamacare at a far less cost. A cost that's much less.

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But if you look at all of the things that we've done -- rebuilding our military, the biggest tax cuts in history, regulation cuts -- that brought all of you people; that’s why you're in the United States. And then you're very happy and you're going in with more.

But I think until the election is over, people are -- and it's not just Bernie Sanders. It's others, too. I think if people thought that there was a real chance of them getting it, it really is going to keep the market down. Now, the market has been up 70, 80, 90 percent depending on your definition of -- you can look at about 16 different definitions. But the country has been incredible. It had one bad day; that was yesterday. Futures are up today a little bit.

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But if you look at what we've done in terms of the percentage, even taking 1,000 points off, the numbers are incredible. If the other side had gotten in, I think it would’ve been 50 or 60 points down from where it was, because the big thing again -- these regulation cuts -- they were going put more regulations on. You couldn’t -- you were being strangled. Whether it was Keystone Pipeline, Dakota Access Pipeline, 48,000 jobs between the two of them. So many other things. I mean, nothing was getting done. Nothing was going to be built. It would take you 20 years to get a highway approved. A small highway. It’d take you 20 years to get a roadway approved. And it was out of control.

We have that way down. That number is way, way down. And they may not get approved, because if it doesn’t work from a safety standpoint or an environmental standpoint, we don’t want to get it approved either. We're not going to let them have it approved. But it's going to end up taking two years, and we're trying to get it down to less than that.

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And if it doesn’t work, at least you're going to find -- and how about working on something for 21 years, and you find out that it just got rejected? So, half of your working life -- of course, nowadays with people retiring so early, it’s more than half, right? But half of your working life, you’re trying to get an approval. And then after 20 or 21 years, they reject you. We reject -- three to two. That happens. It happens.

So we’ve done a real job. But I think that, frankly, until the election is over, our market -- it’s phenomenal, but our market will jump thousands and thousands of points, if I win. If I don’t win, you’re going to see a crash like you’ve never seen before. (Laughter.) I really mean it, too. Okay.

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Anybody else? Yes, sir. Please.

MR. GOENKA: Thank you, Mr. President. I’m B.K. Goenka, from Welspun Group.

THE PRESIDENT: Great.

MR. GOENKA: We have invested around $400 million and created around 1,500 jobs.

THE PRESIDENT: I actually follow you guys, you know -- what you’re investing.

MR. GOENKA: And thank you very much for clearing the Keystone pipeline.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.

MR. GOENKA: That was a big thing -- immediately, once you become the President.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. GOENKA: And all the pipes are manufactured now in the U.S. and that’s a big thing. (Inaudible) at home.

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THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. That was one of the things I said. Right? I put a little note, in handwriting: You have to make the pipe in the USA. Right? On the bottom. They said, “Sir, this will take two weeks to get.” I said, “No, it doesn’t.” You have to.

Now, we had a little problem because they already bought the pipe, right? And that was a little bit, you know, unfair to them, I thought. So we had to sort of let them do what they had to do. But they had bought much of the pipe. And Dakota Access pipeline was already built, except for the one river area that I freed up for them. So it was great.

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Well, that’s good. So, is that what you do?

MR. GOENKA: Yeah. And we are really like at home, absolutely. And after all your tax cut and reforms, it’s really a big, big thing.

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THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. That’s very nice to say. I appreciate. Thank you for the investment.

Yes, sir. Please.

DR. REDDY: Mr. President, congratulations. You’re doing an outstanding job in terms of developing the economy and the world, too. My name is Mohan Reddy. (Inaudible) company called Cyient -- a technology company. But more (inaudible) from the technology (inaudible) perspective, this industry had gone through a tremendous amount of (inaudible). We are now making a large investment in the U.S., hiring thousands -- hundreds of thousands of people right now. But we still have some challenges in terms of regulation issues, especially administrative and legislative.

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THE PRESIDENT: Right. I know that. Yeah.

DR. REDDY: So if you can kindly look into that, we’d be very grateful too.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we are. Now, some of the regulations have to go through what they call a “statutory process,” where you started to cut -- we have the Secretary of Commerce here, and Wilbur knows exactly what this is all about.

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You have a statutory process. So we’re going to cut regulations, but we have to give a 90-day notice. Then we have to give 120 days. Then we have to give 30 days. And we’re in that process now, with respect to a lot.

No, we’re going to cut a lot more regulations. No -- no -- and we’re going to also have regulations because I think you need regulation for safety and for environmental.

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But no President has ever cut anywhere close to what we’ve done. And I’ve done it in three years, and some of them have been for eight. In one case, it’s more than eight. But no President has come close.

But we are in statutory environments where we have to go -- we have one where we have to wait six months before we do phase two, which is -- and there’s four or five phases, but they’re all in a pipeline to get cut. And there’s a certain period in about seven or eight months from now where a lot of them are going to be gone. But we go through the process. But you’ve seen a big difference.

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DR. REDDY: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. Good. Thank you very much. Yeah. It’ll only get better, too.

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Yes, sir. Please.

MR. AMBANI: A warm welcome, President Trump. I’m Mukesh Ambani from Reliance Industries.

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THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MR. AMBANI: We are investors in the United States in the energy sector (inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. Big one. Yeah.

MS. AMBANI: We have over seven billion --

THE PRESIDENT: Seven billion. Big one.

MR. AMBANI: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Right, sure.

MR. AMBANI: Of course, we also take (inaudible) and bring it to India (inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: Right, exactly.

MR. AMBANI: (Inaudible.)

The other thing is that the United States has been -- again, small companies and large companies have been key partners in transforming India’s telecom (inaudible). (Inaudible) last few years, 4G network.

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THE PRESIDENT: Right. You’re doing 4G. Are you going to do 5G too?

MR. AMBANI: We’re going to do 5G. We’re the only network in the world that doesn’t have --

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THE PRESIDENT: Huawei.

MR. AMBANI: -- a single Chinese component. (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s good. Good. Put a bid in. (Laughter.)

MR. AMBANI: (Inaudible.)

I have to thank you personally for your leadership, not only like what you’ve done in the U.S. but the entire (inaudible) effect on all of us. In India, we could have never imagined the income tax rates have gone down with Prime Minister Modi --

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THE PRESIDENT: They followed us.

MR. AMBANI: So all of us in the business community are grateful, and I think that also a (inaudible), who (inaudible) acquisitions and (inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: Right. Right. They’re getting approved a lot quicker.

MR. AMBANI: They’re getting approved, and we hope that that will continue for Indian companies, particularly in the energy --

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THE PRESIDENT: Well, it will be as long as I’m here. But if the wrong person gets elected, that won’t happen at all. (Laughter.) And everything will come to a halt, and your unemployment rate will go up to eight or nine or ten. And a lot of bad things will happen.

And that has -- you know, it is holding back. There’s no question about it. I mean, I think we’re favored to win. Somebody said 65 percent. But 65 percent means there's 35 percent of something that people don’t want. And it would be devastating because the economy has never been as good as it is right now.

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It's being held back by the fact that we have an election coming up. And I don’t think there's anybody, frankly, on this side -- on the other side that’s going to be very inspirational. It certainly doesn’t look like it. So we'll see what happens. Thank you.

MR. AMBANI: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. Great job you've done. Yeah. Fantastic.

Yes, sir. Please.

MR. SETHURAM: We have a small company. My name is Sethuram. I am a CEO of a company called Thirumalai Chemicals. We are putting up (inaudible) plant in West Virginia.

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THE PRESIDENT: How much?

MR. SETHURAM: Seventy million dollars to start with.

THE PRESIDENT: Seventy what?

MR. SETHURAM: Seven-zero million dollars to start with, and then going up to 400 million (inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: Good. It’s nice when you can say that’s a small company. Right?

MR. SETHURAM: The support that the West Virginia government has given us is excellent. We are proud to be there.

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THE PRESIDENT: It’s a great state. Those people are incredible.

MR. SETHURAM: Yeah. The honorable governor and senators have been excellently supporting us. We need a little bit of banking (inaudible) support from that area, and we’ll be discussing with various banks too.

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THE PRESIDENT: They’ll get that done. So you’re dealing with the governor -- the governor? He’s a great governor, actually.

MR. SETHURAM: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good. He’ll get it done. Good. Thank you very much.

MR. SETHURAM: Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

Yes, sir. Please.

PARTICIPANT: Thanks for the opportunity, Mr. President. I’m (inaudible) of (inaudible). We’ve actually made new acquisitions in the U.S. in the last 12 years, totaling about $12 billion. First company from (inaudible) in aluminum (inaudible). (Inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: Mostly aluminum? Mostly aluminum?

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: How is that going? How’s it all going?

PARTICIPANT: It’s doing very well.

THE PRESIDENT: We helped you a lot -- right? -- with the tariffs.

PARTICIPANT: So we just signed an agreement to (inaudible) --

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

PARTICIPANT: -- which is also in the same space as aluminum (inaudible) based out of Cleveland. Cleveland. And I want to (inaudible) and thank you, because we (inaudible) approval absolutely on time. (Inaudible) is the company (inaudible), which is why we’re (inaudible) approval. And we actually got it a few weeks before (inaudible). And I wanted to thank you for that.

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THE PRESIDENT: You got it very quickly. If I weren’t elected, the aluminum business in the United States would be absolutely dead and the steel business would be dead too, frankly. What we did. You know, they were dumping steel all over the place and bad things were happening. And it wasn’t good dumping either. It was real -- it was sand steel; it was garbage. And we got that straightened out. So, good.

But the aluminum business has made a big comeback. That’s good. That’s good.

PARTICIPANT: And we also have a company called (inaudible) Chemicals, which is the largest producer of (inaudible). (Inaudible.)

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THE PRESIDENT: So your total investment was 12, did you say?

PARTICIPANT: That’s right.

THE PRESIDENT: How much? $12 billion? That’s a big investment. That’s a big investment.

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PARTICIPANT: Twelve billion dollars.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s good. That’s good.

PARTICIPANT: We have revenue of $12 billion (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT: It’s big.

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible) because whatever goes on in the government, (inaudible) really impact us. (Inaudible.) And I must say that your policy of less regulations, and tax cuts, and appropriate protection for (inaudible) from China (inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: And it means jobs. And we just signed the deal with China, and they’re going to be spending $250 billion a year now on our country. Fifty billion will go -- forty to fifty will go to the farmers for the purchase of farm product. But China has been -- you know, great. It’s going to be a great deal. We’re very happy with it. They’re going to take care of their other problem, I hope, quickly. But we’re going to be -- it’s going to be an amazing deal. Okay?

Thank you. Great job.

Yes, sir.

MR. PAREKH: Hello. I’m Salil Parekh from Infosys. We made tremendous investments in the U.S. in the past two years -- about $525 million.

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THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MR. PAREKH: Twenty-four thousand employees in the U.S. Six new centers in different states. So we’re really grateful for all the approaches (inaudible) changes that have come in, both on taxes and on regulations. We see the (inaudible) in your economy to be a tremendous boost for the technology work that we do. (Inaudible) and I’m grateful for the work that you do.

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THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you. Great job. I know your company. Great job. And, you know, we now also have it so money can come in. When your money is offshore, you can bring it in. Before, it was impossible, virtually -- both bureaucratically and the rate was so high that nobody would pay it. So nothing came in.

Now we have billions and billions of dollars. Apple is bringing in $350 billion and they’re building plants. I just left one -- they just opened one in Texas; I just left it. And they’re building another one, and a lot of things are happening. Great things.

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Thank you very much.

Please.

MS. HAMIED: Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

MS. HAMIED: My name is Samina Hamied and I’m from Cipla. As India’s third-largest pharmaceutical company --

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THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

MS. HAMIED: -- we have invested (inaudible) billion in the United States (inaudible). (Inaudible.)

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THE PRESIDENT: Great. Great job. I know what you’ve done. Great job. Thank you.

So I want to thank you. Go ahead. Let’s go. I was just going to say, “Get out of here,” but everyone wants a question now, huh? There’s a young -- young, brilliant businessman. Go ahead.

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MR. AGARWAL: President Trump, thank you for the opportunity. I’m Ritesh. I run Oyo Hotels. It’s a young startup.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MR. AGARWAL: In the last six years, we’ve grown to become a leading hotel chain worldwide. We came to the United States less than a year back. Our aspiration was: Across the U.S., there are lots of small hotels, which can do with better technology, better investments --

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THE PRESIDENT: Sure.

MR. AGARWAL: -- run by various communities across the country. In the last eight months, every day, we’ve opened one hotel in the United States. We now manage over 330 hotels. We invested over $300 million in the U.S.

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But over the couple of years going forward, we expect to invest another $2 billion in the United States. We brought (inaudible) jobs. And we’re signing a pledge with Ivanka soon that will bring hundreds of thousands of more jobs to people --

THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic.

MR. AGARWAL: -- across Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota, and so on.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that where you invest? Those areas? That’s where you put --

MR. AGARWAL: Across this United States, but these are the states where we are the most dense.

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THE PRESIDENT: So, how many hotels do you have right now, then?

MR. AGARWAL: Three hundred and thirty in the U.S. --

THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic. That’s --

MR. AGARWAL: -- but worldwide, over 40,000.

THE PRESIDENT: That is really great. I actually know of your company. Not just a small company, by the way. Good job. Thank you very much.

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Please.

AIDE: Mr. President, this is going to be the last question.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, okay. Well, we’ll do one and one, okay? Go ahead.

MR. MITTAL: After aluminum, it is important to speak of steel, Mr. President. My name is Lakshmi Mittal. We met in Davos.

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THE PRESIDENT: This one is a big one, right? This is a big -- this is a big guy. This is a big player. Go ahead. I know him very well. I’ve seen him on enough covers. I should know him, huh?

Go ahead. How’s it going?

MR. MITTAL: Thank you, Mr. President. My honor. But since you have -- you became the President, you saved the steel industry in the United States. And Section 232 has been the big lesson for the rest of the world on how to support domestic manufacturing. And this is what we expect the other countries to learn: that they should support domestic manufacturing, not made in China. They support domestic manufacturing to dump steel steel in the world. (Inaudible) over-capacitation.

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But I must thank you for what you have done for the steel industry, what you have done for the tax reform, what you have done to reduce regulations. I’ve never seen the extent of ease of doing the business what we experience in the United States anywhere else in the world. So I must congratulate you for creating an ease of business ecosystem.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.

MR. MITTAL: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: As you know, three years ago, it was just the opposite. It was one of the worst countries to do business in. You couldn’t get approvals. You couldn’t get anything done. You were sued on environmental -- you know, for environmental reasons, not because of the environment, just because it was a way of stopping a project that would produce jobs.

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And I’m a big believer in the environment and I want to take care of the environment, but they were just using the laws. And we don’t let that happen anymore. But if it’s something that is wrong -- you know better than anybody -- we stop them from doing it. But you’ve done an incredible job.

And the steel industry was dead in our country. And, you know, we need -- there are certain industries you can do without, to be honest with you. There are certain industry -- we can name a lot of them. But, steel you need, from a military -- and aluminum you need. You got to have the aluminum. But steel you need probably more than anything else. You have to have it.

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And the job you’ve done is incredible. Biggest in the world by far. The job you’ve done is incredible.

MR. MITTAL: Mr. President, we are going to announce a multi-billion-dollar investment in (inaudible).

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THE PRESIDENT: Good. That’s a great place.

MR. MITTAL: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Well, you let me know. I’ll be there for the groundbreaking. No, that’s a great -- I know you’re investing. I know you’re looking at Alabama, right?

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MR. MITTAL: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: I know. I had heard that. That’s great for a very -- that’s a big plant and that’s going to be this super-efficient, super-modern. That’s going to be a showcase, I hear.

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MR. MITTAL: I know that you always know more than I do about (inaudible). (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Right. No, but people know about -- people know about that. That’s a great -- that’s a great thing for Alabama and it’s an incredible place to invest.

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MR. MITTAL: One last question for you. During your last campaign, you had almost a trillion dollars of (inaudible). Why did that (inaudible) you can give into this trillion-dollar infrastructure bill that will (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, we are doing things. One of the things we’re doing, we’re going to be announcing another tax cut in not so long a period of time, largely for middle-income people, because, you know, we gave them a good tax cut but we’re going to give them a fairly substantial cut. And that gives a lot of money to the consumer.

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One of the reasons we’re doing well, and other countries are not doing well -- China is having a hard time. They’re all really -- not too many are doing well. We’re doing better than anybody in the world by far. It’s because our consumer is rich now because of what we’ve done with a lot of things: jobs, but also tax cuts. They have money, and other consumers don’t have money. So that’s great.

That’s really -- it’s an honor to meet you again. And it was good seeing you there, and I look forward to seeing that plant go up. But I think you’re going probably be doing numerous plants in the United States.

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MR. MITTAL: Thank you, Mr. President. One more comment that I have. United Steel Workers union refused to (inaudible) Democrats.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. MITTAL: And after your tax reform, they started to see bigger checks. (Laughter.)

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THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. MITTAL: Now they want to (inaudible) Republicans.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. MITTAL: People can feel the benefit of your presidency.

THE PRESIDENT: You gave them -- you gave them the bonus? You gave them a piece of the cut? And the rest went into investment?

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MR. MITTAL: (Laughs.) Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: No, it’s a great thing. Thank you very much. That’s beautiful. Thank you.

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Okay, final question. Go ahead.

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

PARTICIPANT: We’ve been in the U.S. for 35 years.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.

PARTICIPANT: We’ve made about 25 investments. Our profits are in the area of $5 billion. Last year we invested $4 billion.

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THE PRESIDENT: Good.

PARTICIPANT: We’re in the agriculture sector. We also do all our global biotech research in the U.S. -- in agriculture biotech. And I think the -- you’re looking forward -- the farmers and the agricultural sector really suffered last year. And I think that there’s a lot of excitement around that and --

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THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, there is.

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible) it will help us grow our business and assets.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as you know, they were targeted as -- and I’m not blaming China for that, because they want to try and win something. And they were targeted, and I made up the difference, as you know, with the tariffs that came from China. So they got targeted from China, and then I took money from China, I gave it to the farmers. And frankly, they didn’t want it. They just want a level playing field. They’re incredible people.

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But they did well, but now they’re really doing well, because you’re seeing the numbers coming out, and it’s -- it’s going to be something very special.

Not only that -- we have $40 billion coming in from Japan. We have a tremendous amount coming in from the new trade deal that we made with South Korea. And then Canada and Mexico are going to be -- you know, the deal is fantastic for our farmers.

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PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: This is -- you know, this is -- that’s right. I mean, that’s right, in the truer sense.

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PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: And you have a good new head of the World Bank too.

PARTICIPANT: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: He’s doing -- he’s one of our people.

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Sure. Well, that -- that, definitely. I thought you said the “World Bank.” That’s right. (Laughter.) But that -- that also. (Laughter.)

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Well, listen, I want to thank you all. Congratulations on your success. We hope you come to the United States; invest more billions. Because I view it not as billions, I view it as jobs. And we have great people and we have the greatest country in the world, in my book.

And, by the way, India -- this has been an honor to be here. And you have a very special Prime Minister. You have somebody who is very special and he really knows what he’s doing.

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Somebody said, “He’s such a nice man.” I said, “Well, actually, he’s a very tough man.” But he is a nice man. He can be, but he can also be as tough as they come. You know what that means.

But he’s done a fantastic job. But we work very closely together, and we create jobs here and he creates jobs over there through yourselves.

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So again, anything we can do, let us know. Congratulations on your success. And I’m going to say hello to all the people now that work at the embassy, and then we’re going to have a little news conference, unless you guys don’t want to do it. Maybe you don’t have to do it.

But we’ll have -- (laughter) -- you could just see them saying no. Last time, you know, I did it where I met many, many prime ministers, presidents, all -- like for three days. I said, “Well, let’s cancel the news conference because I saw these guys every 45 minutes.” And when I canceled the news conference, all hell broke out. So we’re not going to do that.

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So, 5 o’clock. We’ll see you at 5 o’clock, okay?

Thank you, everybody. Great honor. Thank you very much. (Applause.)


END 4:08 P.M. IST


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Public Pool is an automated feed of White House press pool reports. For live updates, follow @WHPublicPool on Twitter.

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