India is hopeful of resolving the issue of higher import tariffs imposed by the US on its steel and aluminium which could lead to a possible roll-back of its proposed retaliatory tariffs on American goods after a three-day intense meeting between senior trade officials from both countries in New Delhi.

“We are hopeful that we will be making a headway on the issue of duties imposed on Indian aluminium and steel by the US on national security grounds and reach some agreement that will satisfy India’s requirements. We hope to do this before August 4, when the retaliatory tariffs are to be implemented,” a government official said on Thursday.

The team from the USTR that participated in the bilateral meeting, which concluded on Thursday, was led by Assistant USTR Mark Linscott.

Both sides also decided to come up with a white paper on how to expand trade on both sides. While the US outlined the possibility of greater exports of civil aircraft, oil and gas and education services, India’s focus was on food and agriculture, engineering goods and automobile & auto components.

“The list of items discussed at the meeting is by no means exhaustive. The idea is to identify a whole list of products and then look at ways to increase cooperation,” the official said.

A team of officials from the Commerce Ministry, and possibly from some other Ministries and Departments, will visit Washington next month to take forward the dialogue.

“Both sides are serious about sorting out their respective concerns in the short and medium term and boosting trade in the long term. More progress will be made in the next meeting,” the official added. The positive feelers from the India-US trade dialogue have come despite USTR Robert Lighthizer issuing a statement on Wednesday threatening further action against trading partners who have imposed retaliatory tariffs on US goods, specifically China and the EU, and stressing that the actions on trade in steel and aluminium by the US were legitimate.

Last week, India notified retaliatory tariffs on 29 items imported from the US in response to Washington imposing higher duties of 10 per cent on aluminium and 20 per cent on steel imported from India citing security concerns. New Delhi, however, deferred implementation of the tariff hike to August 4 to have some room to sort out the matter with Washington.