India, Luxembourg to discuss Arcelor
L'bourg's minister for trade affairs, J Kreeke, is visiting India on March 28.india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 11:57 IST
First, it was just the world's largest steel maker trying to gain control over the second largest.
Now, LN Mittal's hostile bid for Arcelor has given way to an aggressive diplomacy with Luxembourg's Minister for Economy and Foreign Trade Affairs J Kreeke visiting India on March 28 to discuss Arcelor along with the renewal of Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with the Indian government.
Industry and Commerce Minister Kamal Nath told Hindustan Times that no agenda had been finalised. "Kreeke is a friend of mine. He and I have been meeting and talking regularly. He has asked for a meeting in Delhi but there is no set agenda," he added.
However, sources in Commerce Ministry confirmed that there was every possibility of Mittal's bids and Arcelor being discussed during Kreeke's two-day stay in Delhi. It is speculated that Kreeke's visit is the olive branch from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg has DTAA with India and much heat and dust was raised when the Government of India reportedly showed reluctance in renewing it post-Mittal bid. Kreeke will also meet Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, sources said.
The Netherlands-based Mittal Steel had made a $22.3 billion bid for Arcelor, which would create a steel company with an output three times bigger than its three nearest rivals combined.
Apart from Luxembourg, which is a shareholder in Arcelor, the bid was opposed by the governments of France and Spain and labour unions, which were worried about retrenchment, even though Mittal had assured that no worker would lose his job.