Steel traders, automotive customers and even United States Steel workers are hailing the iconic American company’s decision to sell to a Japanese rival. That has left the steel industry wondering why politicians in Washington are eager to cast doubt on the $14.1 billion deal.

Nippon Steel’s December offer to buy U.S. Steel — and the subsequent political pushback — was the hot topic when the industry gathered in Florida last week at one of North America’s largest steel conferences. The overriding sentiment was that the deal will make domestic steel pricing more competitive than a takeover by U.S. rival Cleveland-Cliffs, while preserving jobs and avoiding antitrust issues.

"My understanding is steel consumers, steel customers are much happier with Nippon as the buyer,” Wolfe Research analyst Timna Tanners said at the Tampa Steel Conference.