Obama thanks Lakshmi Mittal for investing in America
US President Barack Obama has thanked London-based Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal for investing in America
“I want to thank your CEO, Lakshmi Mittal, for investing in America and the Cleveland area,” Obama said during his visit to the ArcelorMittal Cleveland Steel Factory in Cleveland, Ohio yesterday.
This year alone, the company has invested USD 70 million resulting in creation of 150 new jobs, Mittal said.
“It’s a great honor for all of us at ArcelorMittal Cleveland to welcome President Obama here today. We’ve been making steel in Cleveland for one hundred years,” Mittal said in his welcome address.
“The link between Cleveland’s success and our investment in advanced high strength steel has been very important to our success,” he said.
Mittal said in the coming years, “we will help our automotive customers meet the demanding fuel-efficiency standards that will be required in the run up to 2025.”
In a novel gesture, Mittal handed over the mike to his employee Tom Scott, who has worked for ArcelorMittal Cleveland for 40 years as a crane operator, to introduce the President. In his remarks, Obama praised ArcelorMittal for turning around the factory which was almost shut down during the economic recession at the beginning of his career.
“Today, the steel you make in Cleveland is some of the strongest you’ll find anywhere in the world. It’s one of the most productive plants in the world. Best workers in the world,” said the US President.
“What’s remarkable is, when you think about it, go back to where this plant was just a few years ago. The economy was in free fall, auto industry on the brink of collapse, and that meant demand for steel had dried up. The blast furnaces went quiet,” Obama said.
“About 1,200 steelworkers punched out for what might have been the last time. And that all came at the end of a decade when the middle class was already working harder and harder just to get by, and nearly one in three American manufacturing jobs had vanished — a lot of them going overseas. and that could have devastated this community for good,” he continued.
The President said after this, some “tough” choices were made and besides steps to rescue and retool the American auto industry, and this saved over a million jobs.
“Assembly lines started humming again, and automakers started to make cars again. Just a few months after this plant shut down, your plant manager got the call — ‘Fire those furnaces back up, get those workers back on the job.
“And over the last four years, you’ve made yourselves one of the most productive steel mills not just in America, but in the world,” Obama said.