Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, informed US President Donald Trump on Tuesday that he had invested heavily in the US energy sector. He said his company had invested about Rs 50,126 crore in the US. He mentioned also the role of Reliance in the Indian telecom sector.
On the last day of his visit to India, the US president was interacting with the chief executives and chairmen of the country’s 20 topmost companies. This conversation lasted for about half an hour.
Trump responded to Ambani with a remark that $ 7 billion was really big investment. He asked the tycoon whether the company of Ambani was working on 4G and if he would invest in 5G like Huawei, the Chinese company too. To this, Ambani replied he would. “The Reliance Group is doing a better job in the field of 5G. We are the only Indian company that does not use Chinese components.”
Trump was impressed. He exclaimed, “Huawei, you mean?” Ambani continued that in recent years, business in the US had become very convenient. Trump remarked, “These are your privileges as long as I am around.”
Trump told Ambani if a “wrong president” came to the US, the rate of unemployment would increase by 10%. He told the magnate, “You will see how much easier you are able to do all this in America than before. As long as I am around, it will go on. But if a wrong president is elected, all this will not happen. There will be interruptions in all development programmes. The unemployment rate also will increase by 8-10%.”
Following are Trump’s answers to industrialists’ questions.
Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman Aditya Birla Group: “Welcome to India, the world’s largest democracy. There is a lot of investment potential in the US. Your government has made it a lot convenient. I will soon invest in America’s aluminium industry.”
Trump: Mostly in aluminum? We can help you a lot in this. If I had not won the election, the steel industry in America would have been shut down as well. They (the leader of the opposition party in the US) had completely stalled the steel industry. That was not good. The aluminum business has made a big comeback since my arrival. If I do not win the election again, the aluminum and steel business in America will be completely destroyed.
Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman and CEO ArcelorMittal: I have invested heavily in the US steel sector. There was an opportunity in the US to do a lot of work in the field of steel There is positive support from the government.
Trump: These are very big human beings. There are very big players. I know them well personally. How is your work going?
Lakshmi Mittal (smiling): I want to congratulate you. You have created a good environment for industry and business in America.
Trump: As you know, the reverse was true three years ago. The country was ruined in terms of investment. Trading in the US was quite difficult. You could not get permission. You could not do anything. The (US) steel sector in my country was completely decimated. A few industrialists like you handled it. There will always be a need for steel and aluminum in the field of defence production. Your work is greatly appreciated.
Mittal: We are going to invest a few billion dollars in Alabama (a US state).
Trump: Nice place. You will tell me; I will also come. A good plant can be developed in Alabama. Soon my government will announce tax cuts. Especially for middle-class families. When they have money, they will make purchases and this will improve business.
N Chandrasekaran, Chairman Tata Sons: There is a lot of investment potential in the US. You have greatly improved tax regulation. If there is a further reduction in corporate tax, it will be very easy to set up the industry.
Trump: Who do you consider important? Tax cuts or Regulation improvements?
Chandrasekaran (laughs): Both.
Trump: I have industrialists like you running the world’s biggest companies. They consider tax cuts to be important but more than that they demand a relaxation of the rules. This is very important for you.
Chandrasekharan: Yes, Tata Sons is working to train the American youth. We will continue this even further.
Trump: Your company is training 15 million young people in America. This is great work. I do not think any government can do this kind of work. The government has limited resources. No matter how much money we spend on such training tasks, there is no benefit. Thank you for this work.
Anand Mahindra, Chairman Mahindra Group: My company has invested heavily in the US. There we are working in the field of production of postal service delivery van. More than a million vans have been built so far. Soon another billion dollars will be invested in it.
Trump: Great! Congratulations to you right now and welcome to America.
Hari Bharatiya, Founder & Co-Chairman Jubilant Indian Group: We are working in the field of pharmacy. Looking to expand his pharmaceutical company in the US. How can it be done?
Trump: There is a great need to work in the health sector. Nobody pays attention to it. The healthcare sector is important for the Republican Party. We ran the Obamacare programme of the Democrats in a better way, but now we want to provide more healthcare services in America. If you work in this field, it will be much better. When I am re-elected US president, the market will go up like a rocket because I have a good understanding of the market.
BVR Mohan Reddy, founder and chairman of engineering, manufacturing and data analytics firm Siant, spoke of relaxation in investment regulations in the US. Trump’s answer to this was: “Some rules fall under statutory procedure. Many of these rules which were unnecessary have been removed by our government. I also believe that some rules are important in terms of security and environment. However, no American President has removed as many rules as we have removed.”
Trump told Mohan Reddy, as many unnecessary rules were removed as they were before.
During a conversation with Infosys CEO Salil Parekh, Trump looked different. Parekh shared information about the working of Infosys and investing in the US. “We are working on increasing it further,” he said.
Trump: Thank you. I know your company. Your company is doing very well in the US. You are well aware that earning money is not easy. Apple previously had a building in Texas. Now they put $ 350 billion into the company and are going to build another building today.
Trump notices Oyo Rooms CEO Ritesh Agarwal and says, “Another young businessman is sitting among us. How many hotels are you in now?
Ritesh replies, “40,000 worldwide.”
Trump says, “Very good! I know your company well.”
Trump spoke also on the impact coronavirus had had on the industry. He said, “I have spoken to the President (Xi Jinping). They face a lot of difficulties and, currently, it seems that they are constantly in control of it. That’s why I think this problem is going to go away.”
“The situation in my country is under control. We plan to spend about $ 2.5 billion on dealing with the dangerous virus. America does business with other countries and wants other countries to be happy and healthy,” the US president said.