Donald Trump’s towering ambition is all the rage in India

Visit by younger Trump intended to help sell more than $1bn in luxury residential units

The Trump Tower under construction in Mumbai. India is the Trump Organization’s biggest international market, with four real estate projects under way. Photograph: Asmita Parelkar/the New York Times

When the Trump family jet lands in India this week, the family member taking a tour of the world's largest democracy will be the US president's eldest son, Donald Trump jnr, on a sales trip.

The visit by the younger Trump, intended to help sell more than $1 billion in luxury residential units being built by the Trumps and their local partners, has been promoted with newspaper advertisements that read: “Trump has arrived. Have you?”

The Trump family earned as much as $3 million in royalties in 2016 from ventures in India, according to the president's financial disclosure report. And Ivanka Trump made her own trip to India in November, in her capacity as a member of Trump administration, just as sales were about to start on some of the residential projects.

There are no formal federal rules that prohibit Trump jnr from pursuing his business interests; he is a private citizen. And even though his father is still a beneficial owner of the family business, he is not subject to conflict of interest laws, as the president is exempt.


Declined to comment

The White House, asked if Trump jnr's trip gave even an appearance of a conflict of interest, declined to comment on the matter.

India is the Trump Organization's biggest international market, with four real estate projects under way. The largest is here in Gurgaon, a fast-growing city outside New Delhi with a litany of Fortune 500 companies and a skyline filled with skyscrapers. The Trump development encompasses two towers with a total of 254 "ultra luxury" units, according to the company, each selling for as much as $1.5 million.

According to business partners in India, many units are selling about 30 per cent per square foot higher than market rates. The younger Trump’s visit this week is expected to reinforce that trend, they said, even as many other luxury housing towers have hundreds of empty units. In addition to an oversupply, a recent Indian government crackdown on the black money economy has hurt sales at competing developments, but the Trump name remains a draw.

Buyers who put down a deposit this week, according to an advertisement wrapped around the front page of the Hindustan Times, are promised a seat at a dinner with the younger Trump. – the New York Times