India is in talks with the US to seek an exemption on steel and aluminum tariffs that were imposed by former President Donald Trump while offering withdrawal of some retaliatory tariffs, three Indian sources told Reuters.
Negotiators in New Delhi and Washington are hoping to reach an agreement during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US later this month, two Indian government officials and one industry source with direct knowledge of the matter said.
India has offered to withdraw retaliatory tariffs on some agricultural goods such as almonds and walnuts in exchange for exemption on steel tariffs, both government sources said.
However, US negotiators were not “flexible”, leading to doubts over a possible exemption on tariffs on steel, one of the sources said.
“We are discussing, (but) they are not very flexible whether there will be any substantial outcome,” the government source said.
India’s trade ministry, the Office of the US Trade Representative and the US department of commerce did not reply to mail seeking comment.
The Indian officials didnot want to be named as they were not authorised to speakto the media.
“PM (Modi) is visiting and by that time, they (US) want to come up with something good, which looks positive for both sides,” one of the government sources added.
India is willing to discuss other possible trade measures that the US officials maypropose, the second government source said.
A top executive at a US industry group said he was not aware of “any serious contemplation” on the part of the US government on the tariff issue and said it was unlikely that they would consider such a request.
“I really don’t think the US government would do that, quite frankly,” said Kevin Dempsey, president of the industry trade group American Iron and Steel Institute.
Trump had imposed a 25 per cent tariff on steel and10 per cent on aluminum in 2018.
In retaliation, India had imposed tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds, apples, and walnuts.