(Bloomberg) -- US Steel Corp. boss David Burritt is convinced Nippon Steel’s $14.1 billion takeover will proceed this year despite stiff opposition from union leaders and the Biden administration. 

“Nippon is clearly the right choice and I’m extremely confident that we’re going to be able to close the deal this year,” he said at an industry event in New York on Tuesday.

Nippon Steel agreed to buy US Steel in December, but opposition from the United Steelworkers and President Joe Biden has left investors uncertain of the deal’s fate. Biden last month vowed to keep US Steel American-owned, in front of union workers ahead of November’s election.

Japan’s top steelmaker recently sent Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President Takahiro Mori to Pittsburgh to meet with local staff and elected officials. It’s also dispatching technical teams to review US Steel mills as the firm assesses ways to convince union leaders and authorities of the deal’s merits.

Closing the transaction is US Steel’s “top priority” and it will “create a bright future for our stakeholders,” Burritt said.

Japan is a great fit, he said. “They’re our friends. They’re the ones we rely on in that Asian theater. This deal strengthens national security.”

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