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India worried over EU opposition to Arcelor bid

India has warned European governments that their intervention could affect fragile global trade talks.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 21:25 IST

India has accused European governments, opposing Mittal Steel's $23 billion bid for rival Arcelor, of discrimination and warned their intervention could affect fragile global trade talks.

"The Indian government is very concerned. I raised this with Peter Mandelson, EU trade commissioner on February 1 and will raise it again," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said.

"This is an era of globalisation, cross-border investment and liberalisation, not one in which investors are judged by the colour of their skin in breach of... National treatment rules. 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," he said.

According to the report, the Indian government will raise the matter with French President Jacques Chirac who is to visit India on February 19.

Advising EU countries to take account of the rise of India and China as economic powers, Kamal Nath said governments should allow shareholders to determine the bid's outcome.

"Countries must wake up to the new economic architecture," the minister said.

A key player in the Doha round of World Trade Organisation talks, Kamal Nath accused France of disrespecting cross-border investment guidelines that require foreigners and locals to be treated equally.

"We had Lafarge (a French company) come in and buy cement plants and we welcomed it," he said.

First Published: Feb 11, 2006 21:25 IST