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Steel giant exec: EU target emission impossible

By CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:32 AM EST, Fri March 8, 2013
  • ArcelorMittal East Europe Chairman Samaddar says EU emission reduction targets are "unachievable"
  • Samaddar says the steel industry has reduced emissions by 50% in the last 30 years
  • ArcelorMittal recently announced plans to cut jobs and close facilities in France, Belgium and Luxembourg

(CNN) -- European demands for the steel industry to cap emissions by 2020 are "unachievable" with current technology, according to a top executive of steel giant ArcelorMittal.

Sanjay Samaddar, the chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal Central Eastern Europe, was speaking to CNN ahead of the release of an action plan for the future of the steel industry, due to be unveiled in June by the European Commission.

"We cannot continue like this for too long so we need a review of the climate package. In the current configuration... it is unachievable, given the state of the technology. Any new technology is expensive which the steel industry cannot support at this current moment," Samaddar told CNN's Richard Quest.

He added: "Energy prices in Europe are almost three times that of the U.S., so at this level of energy prices cost efficient steel production is almost impossible."

Samaddar says the steel industry has reduced emissions by 50% in the last 30 years and ArcelorMittal has made a commitment to slash emissions by a further 8% by 2020.

The world's largest steel producer, owned by billionaire tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, wants a "level playing field" when it comes to competing with other companies "because these conditions are not applicable in the other countries," according to Samaddar.

ArcelorMittal recently announced plans to cut jobs and close facilities in France, Belgium and Luxembourg that triggered violent protests.

French President Francois Hollande threatened to nationalize one of the multinational's production plants in the Lorraine region.

Samaddar said that many other industries in Poland such as coal mining and transportation rely on healthy steel production and that cost efficiency is paramount.

He added: "We want to produce steel but we cannot produce what we cannot sell."

CNN's Oliver Joy contributed to this report.

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