Jacinda Ardern hints at new UK trade deal
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Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned Britain has “no chance” of signing a trade deal with Joe Biden’s administration if the issues arising from the Northern Ireland conundrum are not solved with the EU.
In an exclusive interview with Sky News’ Beth Rigby, he said: “We’ve got to do is repair our trading relations. If we cannot repair our relations with Europe and America, we’re at war with both of them if you like for different reasons but all related…”
Sky News’ Beth then asked: “Why are we at war with America?”
“Well, we’re at war with America over Ireland because they will not sign a trade treaty as long as we cannot sort out the issues related to Ireland”, Mr Brown said.
Sky News’ Beth Rigby interrupted, saying: “Actually, President Biden, I asked him about this explicitly last year, last September. And he said he thought the two things were separate. That there was a trade deal and that there was the Good Friday Agreement.”
Gordon Brown hit back: “Well, he may think that. But the American Congress will not think that. There’s no chance of a trade deal between Britain and America unless we can sort out the problems that arise in Ireland.”
“And of course, there’s no chance of getting better trade relationships with Europe unless we can sort these problems out, as well. And that’s very much part of our future because if we cannot export to the leading markets in the world and cannot this successfully with these new industries and new technologies, then the cost-of-living crisis will be with us for years – and not just temporarily,” Mr Brown said.
Boris Johnson’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has tried to fix the Northern Ireland conundrum with a Northern Ireland Protocol bill that will scrap the Irish Sea checks border.
The border issue came on top of the agenda when the DUP party refused to form a coalition with Sinn Fein after May’s election on the grounds that the Irish Sea border would exacerbate the cost-of-living crisis in Northern Ireland and distance the province from Great Britain.
Liz Truss then unilaterally introduced the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which she succeeded in passing in the House of Commons.
Under Liz Truss’ Protocol bill, goods travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland would go through a green lane whereas goods destined to the EU would go through checks via a red lane – while still leaving companies the option to abide by whichever rules they want.
However, the unilateral decision has been met with fierce resistance from both the United States and the Euroopean Union.
The US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has pledged the US Congress would not support a free trade agreement with the UK if Boris Johnson’s Government persists with “deeply concerning” plans to “unilaterally discard” the current Northern Ireland Protocol.
“The Good Friday Accords are the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and a beacon of hope for the entire world,” Speaker Pelosi said in a statement.
And the EU has taken legal action against the UK for failing to abide by their Protocol.
The EU’s Brexit Commissioner Maros Sefcovic blasted the plan on Wednesday, saying the Bill would “bury businesses under a mountain of bureaucracy” in Northern Ireland.
Speaking from Bloomberg’s London headquarters, he said: “The UK’s failure to engage with us on our initiative is extremely disappointing – more so as a majority of people in Northern Ireland can appreciate the positive benefits and opportunities that the Protocol brings.
“The UK’s bill on the other hand would lead to constant uncertainty. Put it simply, it would not work.”
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