Canada is optimistic the United States will approve TransCanada Corp's controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday.

Speaking during a visit to India, Harper said a majority of U.S. companies and unions favored the $7 billion Canada-to-Texas oil sands pipeline. President Barack Obama said in January he would postpone a decision until 2013 on whether to approve the pipeline, which has drawn fire from environmentalists.

"The president has told me several times that he hasn't yet made a decision, that he will follow the regulatory process in the United States, and evidently the next steps will be very soon, and I remain optimistic," Harper told reporters.

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