India and the US will hold high-level bilateral talks next month to sort out the issue of additional import duties announced by Washington on steel and aluminium products from India and the retaliatory action planned by New Delhi.

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu will meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer during his US visit from June 10 to 14 where the two are expected to look for a mutually acceptable solution to the contentious issue of the additional levies, a government official told BusinessLine .

Last week, New Delhi threatened to impose additional duties of 5 per cent to 50 per cent on 20 items imported from the US, including almonds and motor cycles, in response to the US’ announcement of import duties of 25 per cent and 10 per cent on imports of steel and aluminium products from India. India said that the levies worth $165.56 million — equivalent to the effects on India’s trade due to the US measures — would come into effect earlier than June 21 if the US goes ahead and imposes the additional duties on steel and aluminium.

“India is hopeful that the matter would be settled between the Commerce Minister and the USTR so that both countries don’t end up imposing additional tariffs,” the official said.

India also lodged a dispute at the WTO against the US on Wednesday stating that the additional duties on steel and aluminium announced by it are inconsistent with provisions of the WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and of the Agreement on Safeguards.

Prabhu, who will visit Washington DC and New York, is also scheduled to meet representatives from a number of US-based think-tanks and business communities. The Trump administration justified the additional duties announced for a handful of members including China, the EU, Russia, Japan and South Korea in March this year stating that they were based on security concerns. Trump also said that these were necessary to boost the US industry suffering from “unfair” business practices.

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