Donald Trump Jr praises 'spirit of India', says even 'the poorest of the poor' have a 'smile' on their faces

Donald Trump Jr, the eldest son of US president Donald Trump, is on a week-long trip to India to push sales for the upcoming Trump Towers in the country.

On Tuesday, he praised the "spirit of India" by saying that even "the poorest of the poor" had a "smile" on their faces.

"Honestly for me, there's something about the spirit of the Indian people that's unique here to other parts of the emerging world," CNBC-TV18 quoted Trump Jr as saying.

File image of Donald Trump Junior. AP

File image of Donald Trump Junior. AP

"You go through a town, and I don't mean to be glib about it, but you can see the poorest of the poor and there's still a smile on a face... It's a different spirit that you don't see in other parts of the world where people walk around so solemn... that spirit speaks to the future potential of what this country can do." he further said.

Trump Jr also said that the election of his father as US president had cost the Trump Organisation — the family's real estate firm — a huge sum of money in "opportunity cost".

"We are refraining from doing new deals while my father is in office. We are turning down deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars around the world," The Times of India quoted Trump Jr as saying.

He also said that India is "substantially above board" for business compared to China, and reforms underway will help attract investments to Asia's third largest economy from countries like US.

"As a businessman, I feel things here are substantially more above board," he said. "I think the mentality of the people is the same. I think there is probably little bit more honesty."

He was replying to a question during a meeting with senior editors on why Trump Organisation choose to build ultra luxury apartments in India first than in China.

Trump Organisation has licensing pacts with local business partners, M3M and Tribeca Developers, for constructing 254 apartments in a price bracket of Rs 5.5 crore to Rs 11 crore with a total area ranging from 3,500-4,500 square feet, at Gurugram. The project is scheduled for completion in March 2023.

"For me it has been, certainly been, easier to do" business in India, he said.

Trump Jr, who will later this week share stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a business summit in New Delhi, said India represents the biggest market outside the US for the New York-based company.

"Because I am not a newcomer, I have seen changes during the last decade, certainly over last couple of years," he said on how India has changed for better with the government cracking down on corruption and benami deals in real estate.

The reforms undertaken in India, he said, "will be very positive for the country."

"It will open up the country to much more outside investment from places like United States," he said.

Since its entry into the Indian real estate market in 2014, four Trump Towers, with a total revenue potential of USD 1.5 billion, have been launched across Pune, Mumbai, Gurugram and Kolkata. The fifth one which is expected to be a commercial office project is likely to be launched soon.

He however refused to disclose the revenue model for the India business and what Trump Organisation would earn.

The Trump family earned as much as USD 3 million in royalties in 2016 from ventures in India, The New York Times reported citing the president's financial disclosure report.

The Gurugram project will be the largest of the four, with two 47-storey towers housing a total of 254 'ultra-luxury' units.

While the company is not soliciting new business opportunities during duration of Trump's presidency to avoid conflict of interest, he said the focus would remain on building only luxury and high-end apartments.

"We have been a high-end company since inception," he said.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Feb 21, 2018 10:06 AM

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