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India warns EU of WTO violation on Mittal issue

New Delhi warns EU that attempts to thwart the Mittal's takeover bid of Arcelor violated WTO rules.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 13:50 IST

India pressurised European Union to take up the issue of Laxmi Niwas Mittal's takeover bid of rival steel company of Luxembourg-based Arcelor after New Delhi warned that attempts to thwart the acquisition violated WTO rules.

"EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson spoke to me yesterday after my letter to him on the issue and he (Mandelson) said he will take up the issue with the European Commission," Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath told reporters.

Taking up the matter with Mandelson, Nath had written a letter saying this issue was really a question of providing cross border investment a national treatement, a commitment EU has given in the WTO negotiations.

Meanwhile, Luxembourg authorities have indicated that merchant banker Morgan Stanley has been appointed to go into the $22.3 billion offer to buy Arcelor.

Nath had taken up the issue particularly after the manner in which French authorities reacted on the issue.

French Government should not have intervened in the matter which should have been dealt appropriately by shareholders and industry analysts, Nath said on the sidelines of the inauguration of 'Handicraft and Gifts Fair 2006'.

The bid has sparked objections from the governments of France, Luxembourg and Spain and from labour unions, who are worried about job losses even though Mittal has assured that no worker will lose job and cited all his operations in various countries had not resulted in retrenchment.

The issue is also likely to figure when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets French President Jacques Chirac.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 13:50 IST