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India in talks with US on steel, aluminum tariff exemption — sources

Tan KW
Publish date: Thu, 08 Jun 2023, 10:31 PM
Tan KW
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NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON (June 8): India is in talks with the United States to seek an exemption on steel and aluminum tariffs that were imposed by former US 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 Indian 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, declining to be identified.

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 did not want to be named, as they were not authorised to speak to media.

"PM (Modi) is visiting and by that time, they (the US) want to come up with something good, which looks positive for both sides," one of the government source added.

India is willing to discuss other possible trade measures that the US officials may propose, 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 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminum in 2018, using Section 232 of a 1962 act that allows the president to restrict imports.

In retaliation, India had imposed tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds, apples and walnuts.

Last December, The World Trade Organization ruled that US tariffs imposed on steel and aluminium imports by Trump contravened global trading rules, a judgement criticised by Washington.

Separately, at a US Congressional Steel Caucus hearing on Wednesday, several steel industry leaders expressed support for keeping the tariffs in place.


  - Reuters


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