Former US President Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the Republican presidential nomination race, has pledged to block Nippon Steel's purchase of United States Steel.
Japan's largest steel maker announced in December that it struck a deal to acquire US Steel for about 14 billion dollars.
Asked by reporters on Wednesday in Washington whether he would block the acquisition if he is elected, Trump replied, "Absolutely." He said he would do it "instantaneously."
The United Steelworkers union issued a statement criticizing the planned buyout after Nippon Steel announced the deal. Some lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties are also expressing opposition to the plan.
The administration of President Joe Biden plans to have the government's Committee on Foreign Investment examine the case. The body reviews mergers and acquisitions of US businesses by foreign companies to assess potential impacts on US national security.
US Steel is headquartered in Pennsylvania, a swing state. Trump secured victory there in the 2016 presidential election, while Biden claimed the state in 2020.
This presents an unusual scenario in which the outcome of a substantial acquisition plan could be influenced by the presidential election.