As Donald Trump Junior kicks off his India tour to review his real estate portfolio and meet the first 100 buyers of the Trump Tower projects in Kolkatta and Gurgaon, Manisha Natarajan of CNBC TV18 caught up with him to understand his India play.
Hectic 4 days, I believe it is to review your real estate portfolio because there are no government visits lined up isn't it?
Correct. It’s about real estate. It has been a market we have been excited about for quite some time. I have been coming here since my late 20s. I don't even want to tell you how old I am right now. I turned 40 two months ago. It's been an exciting place for us. I have spent a lot of time and I am getting to know, forming great relationships with Kalpesh and Pankaj and others. So it is exciting to see those projects coming true. It's unfortunate that we are not able to do new ones because there have been no shortage of new business that we could do but that is a understandable opportunity cost of some of the other things that we are doing that are also important.
Will come to those a little later. Can you corroborate that India is now your largest international market outside of the U.S?
It is in terms of those kinds of deals. It has been an exciting market.
Both in terms of revenues and size?
Well surely in the number of projects, right. Revenues depend on what we are doing. When we have owned projects depending on the size of those projects are different and we are not going to talk about those numbers but, it's been a very important international market to us. Few years ago I said it would become our largest because I really believed in the market, i believed in the people and the relationships that I was able to form and I think it will continue to be the same when I am able to get back in the market and focus on the business side, on new deals again in the future, again once my father is out of office.
Are you scoping new deals along with Kalpesh Mehta, your partner in India?
No, not right now. We are precluded, you know self-imposed precluding from doing that. Today, there weren't many that we were looking at before and that weren't over the finish line until my father took office so we had to say no to those. But, we will be back in time and we are looking forward to when that is.
USD 3 million licensing fees has been reported as the figure from India portfolio. Is that correct? Now with more projects getting added, what would that number look like in 2018?
We don't discuss these things so I don't think it is accurate. Well in India, it has been an important market for us but again there is this opportunity cost of the deals that we are not able to do that don't get discussed. When people talk about it these days, they says it is profiteering from the president and all this nonsense. I can't do delays I have spent over a decade creating relationships to now over 5 incredible deals that are all active. We could do so many more but we are not doing those. But, no one wants to talk about those types of deals. It sort of a shame, we put on these impositions on ourselves but essentially got no credit for actually doing that and for actually doing the right thing. I am not saying it was wrong but, it is an important market for us. It always has been and it will be again in time when we are able to get back.
The Trump Realty brand has come under fire post your father's presidency in several geographies . How do you tackle that?
Listen, I think it is what it is. I think there comes a point in someone's life where you have to take a stand, where you actually will have to do what is right and what is important and it may not necessarily be popular to all people because everyone wants to believe that the world as a whole is a great place but I think an important part of my father is doing is what the other politicians around the world are doing which are pretty good successes. He is addressing real issues and tackling them not just for the popularity sake but because they actually have to be addressed. And so when you do get into politics, there is sort of binary nature to it. You are either this way or that way. There is not really much common ground to it these days. And I think that is unfortunate and I think that could change. But as a business, we will continue to run. We have incredible assets all over the world that will continue to operate and to grow certainly in the U.S. And it’s just a factor of time. Anything else in business, there are curveballs thrown at you every day and we will continue to do what we do well and come over those obstacles.
Lot of responsibilities as U.S President’s son. Now managing a global business with your brother and you have a young family with 5 children. How do you balance it all?
It is not easy. I think obviously the kids in the grand scheme of everything are more important and I try to that. I try to be active when I can. Obviously the business responsibilities are great one and even though I am not in the administration, politics becomes a part of it. I believe what my father is doing is certainly up against a lot of adversities. i am a vocal kind of guy. I am not good at sitting in a corner and being quite. So, it’s all important and has to be get done. Family being no 1, business no 2 and politics being 3.
Your father shares a warm relationship with PM Modi and you will be meeting him at a Summit in New Delhi. What will you discuss with PM Modi?
I am here as a businessman and I think when you talk about the two largest, I guess 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 is going on in the world today in many of the other markets and in many of the upcoming powers. So, I think that alliance has always been strong politically and it will remain so. But, for me as a businessman, just the way I look at it, our alliance is also great because there is a lot of things that can be shared that can promote both of our economies and frankly strengthening economies is going to strengthen everything else and those are the things I am concerned about.