Showing posts with label International Commerce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Commerce. Show all posts

March 6, 2019

Trump Scraps Trade Deal with India, Another Trade War?


U.S. President Donald Trump looked set to open a new front in his trade wars on Monday with a plan to end preferential trade treatment for India that allows duty-free entry for up to $5.6 billion worth of its exports to the United States.

India played down the impact, saying it was keeping retaliatory tariffs out of its talks with the United States, but the opposition could seize on the issue to embarrass Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of general elections this year. 

India won't discuss retaliatory duty with the U.S.: trade official
Trump, who has vowed to cut U.S. trade deficits, has repeatedly called out India for its high tariffs, and U.S. trade officials said scrapping the concessions would take at least 60 days after notifications to Congress and the Indian government.

“I am taking this step because, after the intensive engagement between the United States and the government of India, I have determined that India has not assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India,” Trump told congressional leaders in a letter.

India is the world’s largest beneficiary of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which dates from the 1970s, and ending its participation would be the strongest punitive action against it since Trump took office.

Reuters last month reported the planned U.S. action, which comes as the United States and China appear close to a deal to roll back U.S. tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said India’s removal from the GSP would not take effect for at least 60 days after the notifications.
“Discussions are on with the United States, and given cordial and strong ties, (we are) keeping retaliatory tariffs out of it,” Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said in New Delhi.

The preferential treatment brought India an annual “actual benefit” of just $190 million, he told reporters.

Of the 3,700 products covered, India used the concession for just 1,784, Wadhawan added. 

“The benefit to industry is low, U.S. tariffs are already low,” said another government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “GSP is more symbolic of the strategic relationship, not in value terms.”

Farm, marine, and handicraft products are among India’s exports most likely to be hit, Ajay Sahai, the director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, told Reuters, but Indian shares were little changed on the news.

Last week, India delayed until April 1 higher tariffs on some U.S. imports announced in response to a U.S. refusal to exempt it from new steel and aluminum tariffs. 

Despite its limited impact, the GSP removal could hurt Modi’s Hindu nationalist ruling party ahead of the election, expected in the next couple of months.

“It can become a political issue in an election year,” said the official who declined to be named.

World shares tick higher on U.S.-China trade deal optimism
Modi’s own relationship with Trump has been limited, with their meetings less frequent than those of Chinese President Xi Jinping with Trump, for example.

Trade ties with the United States suffered after India adopted new rules on e-commerce curbing how internet retail giants Inc and Walmart Inc-backed Flipkart do business.

That followed a drive-by New Delhi to force global card payments companies such as Mastercard Inc and Visa Inc to move their data to India and higher tariffs on electronic products and smartphones.

In 2017, the United States protested against India’s decision to cap the prices of medical devices.

“India has implemented a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on the United States commerce,” said the USTR, which estimates the United States ran a goods and services trade deficit of $27.3 billion with India in 2017.

“Despite intensive engagement, India has failed to take the necessary steps to meet the GSP criterion,” it added.

India’s top GSP exports to the United States in 2017 included motor vehicle parts, ferroalloys, precious metal jewelry, building stone, insulated cables, and wires, said business grouping the Confederation of Indian Industry.

“Some industries which are highly export-oriented to the American markets would be impacted, like pharma or textiles,” said Siddharth Sedani, equity advisory head at brokerage Anand Rathi.

India’s falling trade deficit with the United States is estimated to have narrowed by more than $4 billion in 2018, the trade ministry said, adding it would fall further on the growing demand for energy and civilian aircraft.

Additional reporting by Manoj Kumar, Krishna N.Das and Aditya Kalra in NEW DELHI; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

January 22, 2018

Pepsi and Stolichnaya in Russian History 60's-90's Exchange of Warships for Pepsi


 This Russian General had Pepsi bottle the drink right on a warehouse by his house since it could not be imported. It is believed he was the original Russian drinker in Russia.

On April 9, 1990, American newspapers reported on an unusual deal. Pepsi had come to a three billion dollar agreement with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had long traded Stolichnaya vodka in return for Pepsi concentrate. But this time, Pepsi got 10 Soviet ships.
This wasn’t the first time that Pepsi sold soft drinks in return for a flotilla. The previous year, the company even received warships. This situation—a soft drink conglomerate briefly owning a fairly large navy—was the unusual result of an unusual situation: a communist government buying a product of capitalism from the country it considered its greatest rival.
It began with a rare exchange of culture. In the summer of 1959, the U.S.S.R. held an exhibition in New York, and the United States reciprocated. The American National Exhibition in Sokolniki Park, Moscow, featured American products: cars, art, fashion, and an entire model American house. A number of still-familiar brands sponsored exhibits and booths, including Disney, Dixie Cup Inc, IBM, and Pepsi.
That month, many Russians got their first taste of Pepsi. One of them was Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. On July 24, then-Vice President Richard Nixon showed Khrushchev the exhibition. It became the scene of the infamous Kitchen Debate. While standing in a mock-up of an American kitchen, Nixon and Khrushchev traded barbs about communism and a recent American resolution on “captive states” under Soviet power. Nixon also led Khrushchev towards a display booth that dispensed nothing other than Pepsi-Cola. Symbolically, the booth offered two batches: one mixed with American water, the other with Russian.
It was a set up. The night before, a Pepsi executive, Donald M. Kendall, had approached Nixon at the American embassy. As the head of Pepsi’s international division, he’d defied the company’s leaders in deciding to sponsor a booth and attend the exhibition. To prove that the trip was worthwhile, he told Nixon, he “had to get a Pepsi in Khrushchev’s hand.”

Kendall is at the front, pouring.

Nixon delivered. A photographer caught Nixon and Khrushchev together as the Soviet leader gingerly sipped his cup of Pepsi. Kendall stands to the side, pouring another cup. Khrushchev’s son later recalled that many Russian’s first take on Pepsi was that it smelled like shoe wax. But, he added, everyone remembered it, even after the exhibition was over.
 For Kendall, the photo was a triumph. He had big plans for the brand’s expansion, and the Khrushchev photo op catapulted him up the ranks at Pepsi. Six years after the American National Exhibition, Kendall became CEO.
A statue of Pushkin watching over the Pepsi signs.
The U.S.S.R. was Kendall’s land of opportunity, and his goal was to open it to Pepsi. In 1972, he succeeded, negotiating a cola monopoly and locking out Coca-Cola until 1985. Cola syrup began flowing through the Soviet Union, where it was bottled locally. It was a coup: As the New York Times put it, the soda was “the first capitalistic product” available in the U.S.S.R. Pepsi had become a pioneer. But there was one issue: money.
Soviet rubles were worthless internationally, with their value determined by the Kremlin. Soviet law also prohibited taking the currency abroad. So the U.S.S.R. and Pepsi resorted to barter. In return for cola, Pepsi received Stolichnaya vodka to distribute in the United States. By the late 1980s, Russians were drinking approximately a billion servings of Pepsi a year. In 1988, Pepsi broadcast the first paid commercials on local TV, starring none other than Michael Jackson. The bartering worked well—Stolichnaya was popular in the United States. An American boycott in response to the Soviet-Afghan war, however, meant that Pepsi wanted something else to trade.

So, in the spring of 1989, Pepsi and the Soviet Union signed a remarkable deal. Pepsi became the middleman for 17 old submarines and three warships, including a frigate, a cruiser, and a destroyer, which the company sold for scrap. Pepsi also bought new Soviet oil tankers and leased them out or sold them in partnership with a Norwegian company. In return, the company could more than double the number of Pepsi plants in the Soviet Union. (It also ignited jokes that Pepsi was taking the Cola Wars to the high seas.) “We’re disarming the Soviet Union faster than you are,” Kendall quipped to Brent Scowcroft, President George H.W. Bush’s national security adviser.
But that was nothing compared to 1990’s three billion dollar deal. (A figure based on Pepsi’s estimate of how much sales of cola in the Soviet Union and vodka in America would net them over the next decade.) It was the largest deal ever brokered between an American company and the Soviet Union, and Pepsi hoped it would spur more expansion. Pepsi even launched another American institution in the country: Pizza Hut. The future looked bright.

Instead, the Soviet Union fell in 1991, taking with it Pepsi’s deal of the century. Suddenly, their long balancing act turned into a scramble to protect its assets in a free-for-all made more complex by redrawn borders, inflation, and privatization. The LA Times described how the new Pizza Huts were hobbled—their mozzarella was sourced from Lithuania. The company had hoped to pivot from heavy glass bottles to cheaper plastic, but the plastic company was located in Belarus.
Similarly, Pepsi’s partially-built ships were stranded in newly-independent Ukraine, which wanted a cut of the sales. Kendall, who had since retired, lamented that the Soviet Union had essentially gone out of business. Over several months, Pepsi pieced parts of the deal back together. But instead of dealing with a single state, they had to broker with 15 countries. Worse, Coca-Cola aggressively entered the former Soviet Union, and Pepsi struggled to keep its advantage. Among other marketing strategies, it launched a giant, replica Pepsi can up to the Mir space station for a commercial and erected two iconic billboards over bustling Pushkin Square in Moscow.
Russia is still Pepsi’s second biggest market outside of the United States. But their pioneering luster has faded. It didn’t help that Pepsi had been around for so long that other sodas seemed novel by comparison. After only a few years, Coke beat out Pepsi as Russia’s most popular cola. And in 2013, even the billboards over Pushkin Square came down. Maybe Pepsi should have held on to that destroyer.
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January 11, 2017

Trumps’ International Business Ties Around the Globe

 Donald Trump says his business is “great,” and you’ll have to trust him on that. One of the few things an outsider can know for sure is that it’s a complex and opaque hodgepodge of an empire scattered around the globe.

Trump has interests in 500 companies in about 20 countries. But many of them have no business operations and are just are shells set up to hold stakes in other companies, possibly to provide legal and tax protection.

A disclosure document in May listing the companies ran 104 pages, but revealed precious few details about how much each entity has borrowed, their profits, or purposes.

The details matter because government ethics experts note the possibility that Trump might be tempted to shape regulations, taxes and foreign policy to enrich himself or his business partners. Foreign governments could create plenty of trouble, too. They could seek to influence him by rewarding or punishing his business interests in their countries.

Trump has said he will separate from his business, but has provided few details on what that means. He is scheduled to discuss his plans at a news conference on Wednesday.

In a tweet last month, the president-elect said that “no deals will be done” while he is in office and that he will leave management of his company to two of his children, Donald Jr., 39, and Eric, 33, along with executives. As in his previous statements, he left open the possibility of retaining his ownership stake.

What makes the situation so perilous is that no modern U.S. president has owned so much, had it spread so far around the globe, and disclosed so little.

Still, plenty is known about his company, the Trump Organization.

— Trump’s business ties abroad sprawl, but it’s not clear they run deep. Trump owns little overseas. Since losing nearly everything in the 1990s from a debt-fueled foray into casinos, he’s preferred to take care of his money and strike royalty deals that entail little more than renting out his name.

— Not every Trump building is owned by him. Many residential buildings bear his name, but many apartments in them have been sold off years ago. This is true of Trump Tower on New York’s Fifth Avenue where he lives and works and through whose gilded lobby he has paraded his nominees for his cabinet.

— Ivanka, his 35-year-old daughter, is an executive vice president at the Trump Organization but also owns her own company selling clothes and jewelry. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is CEO of his family’s real estate business. On Monday, after he was appointed a senior adviser to Trump, Kushner promised to step down from that role and sell some assets to comply with federal ethics laws.

Below is a cheat-sheet of sorts on Trump’s holdings.



Trump has his name on hotels, residential towers and resorts around the globe, from South Korea and the Philippines in Asia to Uruguay in South America and Turkey in the Middle East.

In Indonesia, he struck a deal for use of his name and management services for a resort and residential building in Bali owed by the MNC Group, a real estate company run by a politically active businessman, Hary Tanoesoedibjo. In his May disclosure, Trump said he made between $1 million and $5 million in licensing fees for this deal in the prior 17 months, as well as for similar deals in Turkey, Panama, the Philippines and India.

His partner in the Philippines venture, E.B. Antonio, was recently named a “special envoy” to the U.S. by his country’s president. Trump faced criticism after India’s Economic Times reported that he held a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan shortly after the election with business partners in one of two Indian ventures, two residential towers in Pune in the western part of the country.

The Trump Organization said before the election that it was looking to enter new countries. In recent weeks it has been shedding some projects instead as the president-elect has come under pressure to separate from his business before assuming office.

Trump lawyer Alan Garten earlier this month said “exploratory” talks are off over a possible project in Pune, India, as well as one for five office towers in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Buenos Aires project had been in the spotlight after media outlets reported that Trump tried to speed it along by mentioning it in a congratulatory postelection call from Argentine President Mauricio Macri. A Macri spokesman denied to The Associated Press that the subject even came up in the call.

The Trump Organization has also canceled licensing deals recently for hotels in Brazil, Azerbaijan and the neighboring country of Georgia.

Trump’s tax returns might shed more light on his businesses abroad, but he didn’t release them during the campaign, breaking decades of precedent. As president, he is not required to publish public financial disclosures until his second year in office.



Much of Trump’s wealth is in just four buildings, according to Forbes magazine, which has been tracking his holdings for 33 years. Three of them are in Manhattan — a wholly owned office building on Wall Street and stakes in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and an office tower nearby in midtown — and one is in San Francisco.

Forbes’ estimate for the four buildings, after subtracting out debt on them owed by Trump: $1.5 billion, or 40 percent of the president-elect’s $3.7 billion total net worth. (Trump estimates his net worth at more than $10 billion and says the value of his brand name alone is nearly as much as the Forbes’ tally of everything.)

Among many other properties, Trump also has investments in a Chicago hotel and one in Las Vegas and, of course, the new Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. In the case of the latter, he doesn’t own the building, but rents it from the federal government.



Trump has been busy adding to his portfolio of golf properties in recent years, and here he has been risking his own money by taking ownership stakes. It’s a bold bet. The golf business in general is suffering as membership in clubs has fallen.

The Trump Organization has 17 golf courses in total. They include three in Florida, as well as links in California, New Jersey and New York. In 2014, Trump completed deals for Ireland’s Doonbeg golf club and Scotland’s Turnberry resort, the site of several British Opens. He has also struck deals to open two clubs in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Eric Trump, the president-elect’s son in charge of the courses, told the AP last year that they were doing “fantastically.” In his May disclosure, Trump reported $306 million in revenue from his courses, more than a third of that from the one in Doral, Florida.

Trump did not provide estimates of costs or profits from the courses, so it’s not clear how much they are bucking the industry trend, if at all.



Don’t think your “Make American Great Again” hat is quite enough? Not to worry.

You can wear Trump suits and ties, cufflinks and eyeglasses. You can dab yourself with “Success by Trump,” a cologne that his website advertises contains hints of coriander and musk.

You can drink Trump Natural Spring Water or Trump wine from his vineyard in Virginia. You can do that in a Trump chair, next to your Trump sofa and sideboard, while reading “Crippled America,” one of his many books.

Trump reported that the books alone generated between $1 million and $5 million in income over the 17 months prior to the May disclosure.

Other ventures aren’t faring as well. The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, the new name of Trump University, a real estate seminar firm, reported $13,000 in income in the May disclosure. Trump announced after the election last year that he would pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits alleging fraud at the school, but says he did nothing wrong.

Bernard Condon | AP

Condon can be reached at

December 4, 2016

Deplorable’s Can’t Add that Trump’s 35%Tariffs will be Pay by Consumers

You will figure a business man would know that business always pass on cost to consumers. Did he forget? Or may be it just saying good to voters who can add up :”Deplorables’

President-elect Donald Trump threatened in a series of early-morning tweets Sunday to punish American companies that move plants and jobs to other countries.

The proposal — along with Trump’s negotiation to get appliance maker Carrier to keep 800 jobs from going to Mexico — suggests the incoming president will put unprecedented pressure on U.S. companies to keep jobs in the United States.

A look at what Trump is doing and how it might work out:


Trump said he’d impose a 35 percent tax, called a tariff, on companies that close U.S. factories, cut American jobs, then relocate abroad and try to sell their products back to the United States.

“Please be forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake,” the president-elect tweeted.


Trump would likely need congressional approval to impose tariffs on a specific company or a group of companies, says Gary Hufbauer, an expert on trade law at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He suspects that courts would block any such move if the president tried to do it himself. The president has broad authority to impose tariffs on specific categories of imported goods, but not to single out specific companies that make them, Hufbauer says.


Higher prices, most likely. Tariffs are charged at the border, and most importers likely would try to pass along as much of the higher cost as possible.

Capital Economics estimates that tariffs of 45 percent Trump has threatened to impose on Chinese imports would raise the price of those products an average 10 percent. The Peterson Institute calculates that a 2009 tax on Chinese tires cost American consumers $1.1 billion in higher tire prices — equal to more than $900,000 for every job saved in the domestic tire industry.

Tariffs can cause collateral damage, too. When the George W. Bush administration slapped tariffs on steel imports in 2002, U.S. steel makers took advantage by raising their own prices. Companies that buy steel said the higher costs meant they had to cut thousands of jobs.


July 30, 2013

Russian Vodka Boycott Goes Global On Russian Barbaric Anti Gay Laws

LGBT Boycott Of Russian Vodka Goes Global: U.S., Canada, Australia, UK Dump Stoli and Other Russian BrandsGay bars around the world have joined forces to start a boycott of Russian vodka brands following President Vladimir Putin’s extreme crackdown on LGBT rights ahead of Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympic games.

Bars from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, NYC, San Diego, Chicago, Columbus, Vancouver, Toronto, Great Britain and Australia have stopped serving Russian vodka, particularly Stolichnaya, following Russia’s recent passage of a “gay propaganda” law and a law banning gay foreign couples from adopting Russian children. In addition, we reported of a horrific online scheme where Neo-Nazi groups create fake profiles on a popular Russian social network,, and lure in gay male teenagers in order to torture and humiliate them for being gay.

“To show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people and straight allies in Vladimir Putin’s increasingly fascistic Russia: dump Russian vodka,” wrote sex advice columinst Dan Savage.
Canada’s CTV reports that some popular gay-friendly bars in Vancouver’s West End, including the Fountainhead Pub, Oasis and Celebrities, have joined the boycott and have stopped serving Russian products.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson issued a statement Friday calling on Vladimir Putin to end human rights infractions against his people:
I would like to join the millions worldwide who are calling upon Russia to end its violent crackdown on the human rights and free expression of the LGBTQ community ahead of hosting the world in Sochi.
Finding themselves in a PR nightmare, Stoli Vodka updated their company’s Facebook header image with an LGBT-friendly message: “Stolichnaya Premium Vodka stands strong & proud with the global LGBT community against the actions & beliefs of the Russian government.”stoli
The CEO of Stolichnaya Vodka also wrote an open letter to the LGBT community in order to distance themselves from the anti-gay and oppressive Russian regime.
The letter read:
The recent dreadful actions taken by the Russian Government limiting the rights of the LGBT community and the passionate reaction of the community have prompted me to write this letter to you.
I want to stress that Stoli firmly opposes such attitude and actions. Indeed, as a company that encourages transparency and fairness, we are upset and angry. Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be, a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community. We also thank the community for having adopted Stoli as their vodka of preference.
According to the Guardian, Russian Standard vodka is produced in Russia and is owned by the Russian oligarch Roustam Tariko.
The U.S. state department issued a travel warning for homosexuals in Russia. “Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is widespread in Russia, as harassment, threats, and acts of violence have been targeted at LGBT individuals. Government officials have been known to make derogatory comments about LGBT persons,” the warning said.
The International Olympic Committee said Friday that athletes and visitors attending the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia will not be affected by anti-gay legislation passed last month: “The IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”
AmericaBlog had this response to the IOC’s statement:
In other disturbing news worthy of Neville Chamberlain, the International Olympic Committee is now reassuring prospective Olympic tourists, thinking of attending the Sochi Olympics next year in Russia, that gay Olympic0-goers are going to receive an exemption from Russia’s draconian anti-gay laws. And how exactly will the Russian skinheads, who are widely thought to be in cahoots with local authorities, know that the fag walked down the street is an IOC fag rather than a Russian fag, and therefore they shouldn’t bash his face in, like they’ve been doing regularly to gay and trans people nationwide?
Maybe the IOC can issue pink triangles for its athletes to sew on their uniforms, and the Jewish athletes can wear Stars of David too (you never can be too careful), to make sure the Russian government, and the neo-Nazis they’re in cahoots with, know which minorities in Sochi are fair game to beat the crap out of.
Wayla Bar (Toronto, Canda)
Union Cafe (Columbus, Ohio)
Lulu (Palm Springs, California)
LKH MGMT (Chicago, Illinois)
G-A-Y (UK)
Hi Tops (San Fransisco, California)
Moby Dick Bar (San Fransisco, California)
This page posted on The gaily

April 2, 2013

Printing Firm Refuses to Print Gay Magazine

The editor of MyGayZine was hoping to produce a first print edition in June.
An editor is seeking legal advice after a printing firm refused to publish his magazine as it is aimed at the gay market.
Danny Toner, the founder and editor of MyGayZine, an online magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Northern Ireland, was hoping to produce the first print edition in June, to coincide with Belfast Pride.
But after approaching a local printer for a quote he was "hurt and embarrassed" to receive an email refusing to work with the magazine because of its readership.
"There are some types of work I do not feel comfortable taking on and this is definitely one them," wrote printer Nick Williamson from Blufire Media in County Armagh, who had advertised his services on Gumtree.
"To work alongside (even printing for) the LGBT [community] would be in contradiction to my own faith and so I will have to let this quote slide."
Initially, Williamson, a former director of a local Christian bookshop, had replied: "Unfortunately due to the nature of the magazine we are unable to give a quote." After Toner asked for clarification, the printer specified the reason. does not contain any adult content. Recent issues carry features about homophobia, gay life, travel and culture, as well as crosswords and recipes for carrot and ginger soup.
"This is my seventh month producing the magazine," Toner told the Guardian. "I started it up as a home project and it's grown and grown. So after a couple of months building up enough capital, I started looking into getting it printed. We'd been advised not to go to local printers but to opt for foreign ones because it'd be cheaper, but we were against the idea – we wanted to stick with local people.
"Once he [Williamson] came back and was open about the reasons for refusing, I was shocked about how blatant he was. I felt hurt and annoyed and confused. Why? How could anybody refuse a service just for that one reason? It was embarrassing too – it's shaming."
Refusing to offer goods or services on the grounds of sexual orientation contravenes the Equality Act 2010, the same legislation used last year to successfully sue Susanne Wilkinson, the owner of a bed and breakfast, who refused a room to gay couple Michael Black and John Morgan.
Toner has forwarded the emails to the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland and has approached a solicitor who specialises in LGBT rights.
"If we can take the printer to court, we will," he said. "Part of the reason we started this magazine in the first place was in order to fight homophobia and to bring it to people's attention. Things have improved for gay people in Northern Ireland in the last five or six years but there's still a long way to go."
Williamson said he did not wish to comment.

February 25, 2013

Gay Couple Forced into Single Beds Instead of Double

Beds in a hotelNick Hurley
Nick Hurley and his boyfriend were visiting the capital for the weekend

A man has said he and his boyfriend were refused a double room at a London hotel by a receptionist who repeatedly asked "are you sure you don't want single beds?".
Nick Hurley, 22, and Gavin Maclean, 28, from Manchester, had booked the double room at the Thistle City Barbican hotel in east London for Saturday night.
Mr Hurley said: "I believe I've been treated in a homophobic way."
Thistle Hotels said: "We do not tolerate homophobic behaviour."
Spokesman for the hotel chain Chris King said: "We're sorry to hear this. We take matters like this very seriously and we are investigating.
"We apologise for the way they feel."
Mr Hurley and Mr Maclean were visiting the capital for the weekend and had been to the theatre before arriving at the hotel at about 23:30 GMT.
Twitter response
  He said: "When we got there, we tried to check in, and the receptionist looked at us and said 'are you sure you want a double room or do you want single beds?'" 
"He had obviously seen it was two guys. We said 'we've booked a double and we'd quite like one'.
"He then looked at us and said 'are you sure you don't want single beds?'
"He insisted on repeating that question," Mr Hurley said. "I felt it was a way of him imposing his own stamp on the situation. I got a barbed vibe.
"He said we'll have to put you in a family room, with single beds. There were no doubles left in the hotel.
"We're quite non-confrontational," the 22-year-old said. "I'm not that easily wound up but I was angered. We were tired and decided not to make an issue."
'Basic bullying'
He said he was "upset" and later tweeted: "Homophobic receptionist at @ThistleHotels refused me & my bf our pre-booked double room. Insisted we take a "family" room w/ separate beds."
He said he was "taken aback" that he had since received thousands of messages of support.
"This kind of thing is basic bullying," he said. "It can't happen. If anything comes out of this, it should inspire organisations to change."
Gay rights group Stonewall's chief executive Ben Summerskill said: "Subject to the facts being as reported, it's sad to see that this sort of thing is still happening as it's been unlawful for five years.
"A major hotel company must be well aware they can no more turn away a gay couple than a mixed race couple, even though they might not approve of them either."

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