Trump Jr is wooing India to make his real estate empire great again!

Business is good.
Business is good.
Image: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
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“Trump is here, are you invited?”

The question, in a gold and serif font, was asked in a full-page advertisement on the front pages of top newspapers in India on Feb. 18, two days before Donald John Trump Jr. arrived in New Delhi.

The US president’s son is in India on a week-long visit to expand the Trump Organization’s real estate business in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Trump Jr. in front of Trump Towers, Pune, on Feb. 21.
Image: AP Photo

Looking to sell million-dollar homes in the country, he leveraged his family name by a good measure. Priced between $775,000 and $1.5 million (Rs5.5 crore and Rs11 crore), Trump’s luxury apartments are due for completion in 2023. His firm has even found buyers.

In fact, India is already the $9.5 billion company’s second-largest residential real estate market outside the US.

“We are looking at India in a big way. Currently, we have this self-imposed restriction on ourselves, but we’ll continue to nurture opportunities further later on,” Trump Jr told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

Here’s what Trump Jr’s been up to

  • On Feb. 20 he held meetings at Delhi’s Oberoi Hotel with developers partnering with his firm in the upcoming Trump Towers project in Gurugram near Delhi. These included Tribeca’s Kalpesh Mehta and M3M’s Pankaj and Basant Bansal.
  • In an interview with CNBC-TV18 on Feb. 20, Trump Jr. spoke extensively on the company’s business and political interests in India:

I am here as a businessman and I think when you talk about the two largest, I guess the US is the second-largest democracy and we don’t like being second too often. But, in this case, we will make an exception and say that’s okay. You know there is a lot there. There is a reason why India is way before we were ever in politics, but a place where we were looking to do deals and do investment because I think there is a lot more similarity. And when you talk about this sort of natural business relationship, beyond the political relationship of the two largest democracies in the world, I think that is an important relationship to maintain  especially when you look at what’s going on in the world today in many of the other markets and in many of the upcoming powers.

  • On Feb. 20, he was invited for lunch at Delhi’s Birla House, flanked by the country’s top business executives, including Shobhana Bhartia, promoter of the Hindustan Times newspaper, politician Milind Deora, and Deepak Parekh of HDFC.

This is his schedule in India

A Trump Tower under construction in Kolkata.
Image: EPA-EFE/Piyal Adhikary
  • He will fly to Kolkata, West Bengal, on his private Boeing 757 aircraft. There he is scheduled to meet with
  • over 100 business executives, including real estate developers, over cocktails at the city’s JW Marriot Hotel, The Times of India reported. The city will be home to a Rs600 crore Trump Towers project—a 137 unit luxury residential apartment complex—being developed by Unimark Group, RDB, and Tribeca.
  • On Feb. 23, he will speak at a business summit on “Reshaping Indo-Pacific Ties: The New Era of Cooperation” in New Delhi. Besides top executives of global consulting firms and venture funds, prime minister Narendra Modi himself is expected to attend the summit.
  • Trump Jr. is also scheduled to meet a select group of Trump Towers customers in New Delhi on Feb. 23.
  • He is expected to visit Mumbai and Pune where his firm has projects.

Business in India

The Trump Organization has been invested in the Indian real estate market since 2013.

India-Business-Trump Jr
Donald Trump Jr., with real estate developers in New Delhi, India, Feb. 20, 2018.
Image: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

The company’s portfolio in the country includes four luxury residential projects in association with local real estate developers such as Panchshil Realty, M3M, Tribeca, Unimark, IREO, and Lodha. These are mostly brand licensing projects and do not involve any equity investments from Trump Organisation. The company’s fifth, a commercial office project, is expected to come up later this year in Gurugram.

In 2016, after becoming US president, Donald Trump had promised to stay away from his personal business investments in overseas markets to avoid conflict of interest. His firm’s management was passed to Trump Jr. Most of its branded projects in India were launched before 2016.

“I’m here as a businessman,” Trump Jr said in the CNBC interview dismissing concerns around any conflict of interest raised by the ethics experts back home. “Way before we were ever in politics, (India was) a place that we were looking to do deals and to invest in,” he added.

Trump Jr’s visit comes months after his sister Ivanka Trump, senior advisor to the US president, visited Hyderabad for a business summit.