- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 10, 2024

President Biden said Wednesday he “stands by” his commitment to American workers in opposing a planned acquisition of Pittsburgh-based U.S. steel by a Japanese company, a stance Mr. Biden reiterated in a press conference with Japan’s prime minister.

At the same time, Mr. Biden and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida downplayed the idea that one business transaction can strain their economic alliance.

“I stand by my commitment to American workers,” Mr. Biden said in the White House Rose Garden. “I stand by my commitment to a strong alliance.”

Mr. Biden opposes the planned sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon Steel of Japan.

Nippon Steel announced the $14 billion deal last December, raising concerns about national security and the fate of American union workers.

Mr. Biden did not signal how the standoff will be resolved, though Mr. Kishida said “discussions are underway between the parties” and could unfold in a way that is “positive for both sides.” A special federal committee must review the transaction.

Biden administration officials insist the American and Japanese economies are working together and won’t be derailed by the spat.

For instance, the government recently gave Mitsui, a Japanese company, a $20 billion deal to build a crane factory in the U.S. and replace port cranes throughout the country.

“Our ties have never been more robust,” Mr. Biden said. “Japan is the top foreign investor in the United States. And we, the United States, are the top foreign investor in Japan.”

Likewise, Mr. Kishida plans to visit a Japanese-funded project in North Carolina and said he wants to preserve bilateral investment.

“We wish to cement this win-win,” he said.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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