Biden is coming out against a plan to sell US steel to a Japanese company

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pres Joe Biden U.S. Steel is protesting the sale to Japan's Nippon Steel, saying in a statement Thursday that the U.S. must “maintain strong U.S. steel companies run by American steelworkers.”

In a statement obtained in advance by The Associated Press, Biden added: “US Steel has been an iconic American steel company for more than a century, and it is vital that it remains a domestically owned and operated American steel company.”

Thursday's announcement could make waves in his race against the Republican presidential nominee as Biden continues to campaign in the Midwest. Donald Trump. The Democratic president has made restoring American manufacturing a cornerstone of his agenda, and he has the endorsements of the AFL-CIO and several major labor unions.

Nippon Steel In December, it announced plans to buy the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker for $14.1 billion in cash, raising concerns about what the deal could mean for unionized workers, supply chains and U.S. national security.

The Japanese company tried to placate critics by promising that the merger would not result in any job losses. It also promises to keep the American Steel name and Pittsburgh headquarters, while it already has a presence in the U.S. market and will bring new resources to drive job growth. The world's fourth largest steel producer was launched A website With supporting statements from former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania and former senator.

Shortly after the steel deal was announced, the White House indicated that it would be reviewed in secret Committee on Foreign Investment in America. The government has not officially provided updates on the CFIUS review process.

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Biden has a big megaphone to weigh in on the matter, but he has not interfered in the review process or formally blocked the deal, said a person familiar with the discussions who insisted on anonymity to discuss the situation.

After Trump met with the Teamsters union earlier this year, he said he would stop the US Steel takeover: “I will stop it. I think it's a terrible thing when Japan buys American steel. I will stop it immediately.”

Biden will travel on Thursday Saginaw, MichiganIt was once home to several General Motors plants and he hopes the support of union workers will resonate with voters.

The city is a swing county that supported Trump in 2016 and then flipped to Biden in 2020, making it a key matchup in this year's presidential race.

Biden has close ties to the United Steelworkers. Presented to the members of the association “Personal Guarantees” According to the union's February statement about Nippon Steel's plans, he has their back. US Steel is headquartered in Pennsylvania, another key state in this year's election.

United Steel Workers Reported After meeting with representatives of Nippon Steel last week, he said there were “obstacles” to closing the merger, with concerns about whether the company would honor existing labor contracts and the company's financial transparency.

The US views Japan as one of its closest allies and a key partner in countering China's ambitions and influence in Asia. Biden has visited the country twice as president, and will host Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House on April 10.

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But Nippon Steel's ties to China have raised concerns within the Biden administration. According to the World Steel Association, more than half of the steel produced worldwide comes from China. India is the second largest producer, followed by Japan and the US.

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AP writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

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