Boris Johnson could face 'problems' with Biden warns insider
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And International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has been tipped to pivot towards Asia as a result, with the importance of a transatlantic agreement likely to be downplayed. The former high-ranking official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was clear the Biden administration “was in no hurry to sign up to new free trade deals”.
He specifically highlighted the UK government’s handling of issues relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol as having ruffled feathers in Washington.
Mr Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, whom Mr Biden beat by more than seven million votes in the November 3 election, had on a number of occasions touted the possibility of a deal.
However, 78-year-old Mr Biden has been much more sceptical, having issued a warning during the campaign against doing anything to risk 1998’s Good Friday Agreement.
The ex-diplomat told Express.co.uk: “I certainly do think that the loss of Trump reduced the chances of an early deal.
“Although its ratification would, even with Trump in the White House have been pretty moot.”
He added: “If, as everyone is speculating, Truss is promoted in a re-shuffle, then I suspect the US deal will be played down and the Pacific one given more prominence.”
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Speaking yesterday, US Congressman Brendan Boyle issued a stark warning to the UK after a visit by Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and European Commissioner Maros Sefcovic.
Their trip follows the EU’s threat to take legal action after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food imports to Northern Ireland, which Brussels claims is a violation of the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.
The UK Government insists the measures are necessary and proportionate and do no such thing.
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Mr Boyle, a member of the House of Representatives, said: “There are many members of Congress, and they were on the call yesterday, who share my deep concern and real shock at the wanton disregard for international law being displayed by some in London.
“Certainly the continued provocations around the Northern Ireland Protocol, obviously make it very difficult to commence a US-UK trade deal.”
Democrat Senator Richard Neal, the chairman of Congress’s bipartisan Friends of Ireland caucus as well as the chairman of the powerful Congressional committee overseeing trade, has likewise voiced his concern.
Speaking to the caucus on Wednesday, Mr Coveney said: “The EU and the US have been unwavering partners to the peace process.
“Throughout the Brexit process the EU has worked hard to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected in all its dimensions and a hard border on the island of Ireland is avoided.
“We have consistently said that we want the protocol to work for Northern Ireland, and for the island as a whole, in as smooth a manner as possible.
“Sustainable measures on issues around the protocol are only possible with the UK working in cooperation with the EU.”
However, speaking to Express.co.uk yesterday, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib was highly sceptical about the prospect of anything the UK Government does risks any future trade deal.
He said: “We are the United Kingdom – we are an independent sovereign nation and we’ve got to start behaving like one.
“It doesn’t matter what the Americans think – the Americans couldn’t pinpoint Northern Ireland on a map if you showed it to them.
“There will be a bit of brouhaha if we terminate the protocol and then it will die down and that will be the end of it and they will do what is economically sensible for the US.
“They will not let Northern Ireland get in the way of a trade deal, no way.”
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