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September 20, 2021

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Pelosi talks up US-UK trade deal

Britain and the United States will “probably end up” striking a bilateral trade deal, but agreement is “very unlikely” if the terms of the Ireland peace deal are broken, Nancy Pelosi said.

“This is not said as any threat, it’s a prediction, if there’s destruction of the Good Friday accords, we’re very unlikely to have a UK-US bilateral,” the House of Representatives speaker said on a visit to London.

Britain is angling for a trade deal with Washington now it has left the European Union.

But it remains locked in talks with Brussels and Dublin about how best to implement tricky post-Brexit trade rules for the British province of Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Protocol aims to keep an open border between Northern Ireland and EU member state Ireland, a key plank of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended decades of violence over British rule.

But pro-British unionists say the deal to mandate checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea from mainland Britain creates another de facto border and puts Northern Ireland’s place in the wider UK in jeopardy.

London and Brussels agreed earlier this month to indefinitely extend a grace period on implementing some checks — a move welcomed by Pelosi.

“I’m so glad that more time has been given for the negotiations... because there has to be an agreement,” she told the Chatham House international affairs think tank on Friday.

Any UK-US trade deal will need to be passed by the House of Representatives led by Pelosi, a Democrat whose boss, US President Joe Biden, is of Irish descent.

She stressed the Good Friday deal, brokered by former president Bill Clinton, is “very, very, very respected in the US Congress.”


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