There is no chance of Congress approving a US-UK trade agreement if Brexit undermines the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has said.
Pelosi was restating the entrenched position of congressional Democrats and many Republicans in the wake of remarks made by Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, during a visit to London this week.
Bolton had said that Britain and the US could sign interim, partial free trade deals, one sector at a time, which would go through the a fast track legislative process, to help the UK cope economically if there is a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.
In a statement on Wednesday, the House speaker, who commands a Democratic majority, warned that the Trump administration would not be able to sidestep congressional approval.
“Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday agreement, including the seamless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, especially now, as the first generation born into the hope of Good Friday 21 years ago comes into adulthood.” Pelosi said. “We cannot go back.”
Bolton said the sectoral deals, focusing on industries such as car manufacturing, could be negotiated quickly, and insisted they would receive overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.
“The ultimate end result is a comprehensive trade agreement covering all trading goods and services,” he said after meeting Boris Johnson and senior British officials on Monday. “But to get to that you could do it sector by sector, and you can do it in a modular fashion. In other words, you can carve out some areas where it might be possible to reach a bilateral agreement very quickly, very straightforwardly.” Read more