Biden to tell Truss to show 'courage' to fix NI Protocol impasse at UN General Assembly meeting

Wed 21 Sept 2022
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

un flag

US president Joe Biden will use his first bilateral meeting with the new British prime minister, Liz Truss, to encourage the UK to reach a deal with the EU that protects the Northern Ireland peace deal.

Truss will meet Biden today (21 September) during her visit to the UN General Assembly where she is due to speak tonight.

US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters including the BBC that Biden would discuss “in some detail” the Good Friday Agreement, of which the US is a guarantor.

Show courage

Biden will urge Truss and the EU to show the “courage” to resolve the stalemate over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which threatens to reopen decades-old wounds, said Sullivan.

He added that it is imperative “there is no threat to the fundamental principles of Good Friday Agreement, and he’ll speak in detail with her about that in the conversation,” reports the Independent.

Ahead of their meeting Truss has ruled out a UK-US trade deal in the “medium term”, as covered in yesterday’s IOE&IT Daily Update.

EU differences

The government’s Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which will allow the UK to suspend aspects of the post-Brexit trading arrangement, has cleared the Commons and could lead to a trade war because the EU regards it as breaching the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement.

Truss met French president Emmanuel Macron yesterday and promised to work “constructively” with him. However, the two avoided commenting on specific issues including the protocol.

Truss is also holding bilateral meetings with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, Mauritian PM Pravind Jugnauth, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez and Israeli PM Yair Lapid.

Economic security

The Prime Minister will use her speech at the UN to highlight the threat from authoritarian states undermining security and stability.

She will say that as the UK boosts the dynamism of its economy, democracies should work together to protect one another’s economic security.

“The free world needs this economic strength and resilience to push back against authoritarian aggression and win this new era of strategic competition,” she will say.

Politico reports she will tell the General Assembly that the G7 and other likeminded partners need to act as an “economic NATO” to repel the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying that “the free world” needs “economic strength and resilience to push back against authoritarian aggression”.

Pelosi visit

Meanwhile, US speaker Nancy Pelosi used a stopover in Ireland to discuss the importance of the UK and EU “reaching a negotiated solution on the Northern Ireland Protocol”, reports the Irish Independent.

Pelosi met with US ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin on Monday and has previously emphasised that future trade deals between the US and UK “cannot be guaranteed” if the UK "chooses to undermine” the Good Friday Agreement.