WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is in talks with the European Union, Argentina and Australia on granting possible exemptions to steel and aluminum tariffs, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday.

Scale flies off of a steel coil as it is unrolled on the line at the Novolipetsk Steel PAO steel mill in Farrell, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 9, 2018. Picture taken March 9, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

Lighthizer told the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee that he expected a decision soon from President Donald Trump on tariffs against imports from China, which Washington accuses of stealing U.S. intellectual property.

Reuters reported last week that the President could target up to $60 billion in imports from China and Lighthizer said that if the measures went ahead, a mix of tariffs and restrictions on investment could be used.

“We are losing that to China in ways that are not reflective of the underlying economics,” Lighthizer said.

Brazil could also be in line for discussions, Lighthizer said, although he said that talks with South Korea over any possible exemption would be carried out within the context of existing trade negotiation talks with Seoul.

The U.S. has already granted exemptions for Canada and Mexico from the tariffs which were imposed earlier this month by Trump.

Reporting by David Chance and David Lawder; Editing by Alistair Bell

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