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'Europe's fears xenophobic'

In an Asschom survey, majority of CEO's have shown their displeasure at European efforts to block Mittal's bid.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 18:25 IST

India Inc is clearly peeved by efforts of European officials to block Mittal Steel's bid to takeover Arcelor, as a majority of CEOs polled by industry chamber Assocham have described Europe's fears as xenophobia.

An overwhelming 95 per cent of CEOs, who took part in the Assocham Business Barometer (ABB) Survey, dismissed the "misplaced European fears as nothing but a xenophobia".

As many as 75 per cent of the respondents wanted the Indian government to take up the issue with individual governments in Europe as well as with the European Commission.

Nearly 77 per cent of respondents agreed that the "avoidable" interference by the governments in the Mittal-Arcelor business deal would come as a blow to the negotiations in the World Trade Organisation on the issue of National Treatment -- under which the foreign companies are treated on par with local firms.

About 80 per cent of the company heads endorsed Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath's views supporting a fair play. Nath had said: "If the colour of the shareholder, the nationality of the shareholder, or the passport of the shareholder is to be looked at, then we will have to give new definitions to national treatment."

The respondents said fears of job loss for Arcelor's 94,000 workers under the new management have no basis since Mittal's track record shows that wherever he has gone and acquired firms, he has revived and added value to not only the enterprise but also the workforce.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 11:39 IST