No free trade deal with the US if the Northern Ireland Protocol is scrapped, warns Pelosi

Fri 20 May 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News
US speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the US Congress will not support a free trade agreement with the UK if Boris Johnson’s government persists with “deeply concerning” plans to “unilaterally discard” the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Pelosi’s strongly-worded intervention came two days after the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, confirmed that the government was planning to table legislation that would scrap parts of the protocol.

Pelosi said that ensuring there was no physical border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland was necessary to uphold the Good Friday Agreement, reports the Telegraph.

No deal

“As I have stated in my conversations with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and Members of the House of Commons, if the United Kingdom chooses to undermine the Good Friday Accords, the Congress cannot and will not support a bilateral free trade agreement with the United Kingdom,” she said.

Her intervention came ahead of a US delegation arriving in Europe today for talks to calm tensions over the protocol, reports the Guardian.

The bipartisan group is due in Brussels today for a series of meetings, including with the European Commission’s vice-president and Brexit commissioner Maros Sefcovic, as well as stops in Dublin, Kerry and Belfast.

US persuasion

They will travel to London for Saturday meetings with the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, and Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow international trade secretary.

The group is headed by Richard Neal, chair of the ways and means committee which has a powerful say over trade deals. He has also requested a meeting with Boris Johnson.

Neal said he hoped to persuade the UK to pull back from unilateral action to breach the Brexit treaty.

“They haven’t breached it yet. They’re talking about breaching it, so part of my job is to convince them not to breach it,” he said.

State deals coming

As previously covered in the IOE&IT’s Daily Update, the government is said to be close to signing its first state level deal in the US with Indiana, with six more in the pipeline, including

Trade minister Penny Mordaunt and Indiana governor Eric Holcomb met in late April and are in the final stages of negotiating a trade and economic development Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

This is expected to be formally signed at the Indiana Global Economic Summit next week.