UK's proposed changes to Northern Ireland Protocol will not hinder US-UK trade talks, White House says

The White House urged Britain and the European Union to return to talks to resolve differences over implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol

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The White House as encouraged Britain and the European Union to return to talks to resolve differences over the enactment of the Northern Ireland Protocol, but said it does not expect the barrier in communication to affect the US-UK trade relationship.

"The US priority remains protecting the gains of the Belfast Good Friday agreement, and preserving peace, stability and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

When probed on whether Britain's plans to override some of the post-Brexit trade agreement for Northern Ireland could become an impediment for June 22 American and UK trade discussions planned in Boston or a future US-UK trade deal, Jean-Pierre said: "No, I don't believe it will be."

The Government are arguably "teetering on the brink of a trade war" with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, business chiefs have warned.

The White House has urged Britain to resume talks with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol
The White House has urged Britain to resume talks with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol

The warning comes after the Government published its Northern Ireland Protocol Bill online.

But firms are worried about “further economic pain” and “falls in investment” following the release of the bill.

Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “We are hugely concerned the introduction of the Government’s Northern Ireland Bill risks significant harm to businesses in London and right across the whole of the UK.

“Getting Brexit done was at least meant to deliver certainty to businesses after years of waiting for clarity on the future of the UK’s trade relations with the European Union.

An anti-Northern Ireland Protocol sign close to Larne Port, as a Bill to amend the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally was introduced in Parliament yesterday
An anti-Northern Ireland Protocol sign close to Larne Port, as a Bill to amend the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally was introduced in Parliament yesterday

“The introduction of this bill means we are now teetering on the brink of a trade war with the EU and that will mean further economic pain and falls in investment.”

The White House has acknowledged that there had been "challenges" over the implementation of the protocol and that talks should continue to rectify these issues.

“The best path forward is a pragmatic one that requires courage, cooperation and leadership. We urge the parties to continue engaging in dialogue to resolve differences and bring negotiations to a successful conclusion,” it said.

"We underscore our continued support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace," a White House spokesman said.

Last month, a special representative of the UK Prime Minister to the US on the Northern Ireland protocol Conor Burns, met with politicians in Washington.

He said flexibility was required when the manner in which the protocol was currently being implemented did not command the confidence of the unionist community.

Mr Burns added: "We think there is way to do that without having the same rigour of checks for goods for sale in Northern Ireland.”