New Delhi/ Washington:
A government source said US negotiators were not "flexible".
India has asked the United States for an exemption from US steel and aluminium tariffs, in exchange for removing some tariffs on US agricultural goods but Washington is not seriously considering the offer, sources familiar with the discussions said.
Negotiators in New Delhi and Washington have been in talks, hoping to reach an agreement during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United States later this month, with officials offering to withdraw retaliatory tariffs on some agricultural goods such as almonds and walnuts, two sources said.
"India has raised the issue but they've been turned down fairly quickly by the US team, so it isn't in serious consideration right now," a US source familiar with the talks told Reuters.
"US officials have been very clear with India in meetings that they are not considering an exemption for India on Section 232 tariffs," the source added, declining to be identified.
A government source said US negotiators were not "flexible", even though there were expectations of reaching some form of an agreement during PM Modi's visit.
"PM (Modi) is visiting and by that time, they (US) want to come up with something good, which looks positive for both sides," the source said.
India is also willing to discuss other possible trade measures that the US officials may propose, the second government source said.
The trade ministry did not reply to email seeking comment. The Office of the US Trade Representative and the US Department of Commerce, which administers the Section 232 tariffs, both declined comment on the matter.
The officials did not want to be named as they were not authorised to speak to media.
In 2018 then US President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on all US steel imports and 10% on aluminium, using Section 232 of a 1962 act that allows the president to restrict imports.
In retaliation, India 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 judgment criticised by Washington.
On Wednesday, at a US Congressional Steel Caucus hearing, several steel industry leaders expressed support for keeping the tariffs in place.
Kevin Dempsey, president of the industry trade group American Iron and Steel Institute, told Reuters he did not think the US government would agree to withdrawing the tariffs.