US piles pressure on Boris Johnson to resolve post-Brexit Northern Ireland border dispute with the EU and warns trade deal with America could be at risk
- A bipartisan group of US senators has issued a new Brexit-linked resolution
- The resolution calls for the ‘full implementation’ of the Northern Ireland Protocol
- It warns a failure to uphold commitments in Northern Ireland risks US trade deal
- Resolution came as Joe Biden and Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin hold talks
A bipartisan group of US senators has issued a resolution demanding the ‘full implementation’ of the Northern Ireland Protocol, as well as the Good Friday Agreement and Stormont House Agreement.
The resolution warns against the return of a ‘hard border’ on the island of Ireland and states that the UK meeting its obligations must be ‘taken into account’ if and when trade talks between Number 10 and the White House resume.
The publication of the resolution comes as US President Joe Biden holds St Patrick’s Day talks with the Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin.
Mr Martin made clear before the talks that he will be seeking Mr Biden’s support in ensuring the Brexit agreement is upheld by the UK.
US lawmakers have piled the pressure on Boris Johnson to resolve the post-Brexit Northern Ireland border dispute with the EU, warning a trade deal with Washington could be at risk
The warning came ahead of St Patrick’s Day talks between Joe Biden and Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin
The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed by the EU and UK as part of the Brexit divorce deal and it is designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
It achieves that by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU single market for goods, with regulatory checks and inspections now required on agri-food produce moving into the region from the rest of the UK.
The new arrangements have caused some disruption to trade since the start of the year as firms have struggled with new processes and administration.
Earlier this month the UK Government unilaterally decided to extend post-Brexit grace periods on certain trade checks in Northern Ireland.
That prompted the EU to accuse the UK of breaching international law as the bloc launched formal legal action.
The UK has insisted the move was lawful but officials in Brussels said the Government had effectively decided without agreement to impose an ‘open-ended extension’ to the light-touch regulatory periods, which were due to end this month.
A bipartisan group of 15 US senators has now piled the pressure on Mr Johnson to find a solution to the border row.
The group, led by Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, published a resolution ‘in support of the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, or the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent agreements and arrangements to support peace on the island of Ireland’.
The resolution ‘expresses support for the Northern Ireland Protocol and its full implementation, which ensures through international agreement that no “hard border” will be reintroduced on the island of Ireland’.
It also insists that ‘any new or amended trade agreements and other bilateral agreements between the Government of the United States and the Government of the United Kingdom take into account, as relevant, conditions requiring that obligations under the Good Friday Agreement be met’.
The publication of the document came ahead of St Patrick’s Day talks between Mr Biden and Mr Martin.
Mr Martin told CBS before the talks: ‘We want to see a continuation of the president’s interest in Ireland and support for the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement and also of upholding the Brexit agreement itself.’
The Taoiseach traditionally travels to Washington DC for St Patrick’s week to hold a series of high level meetings with the most powerful political figures in the US but the pandemic means this year’s events will take place virtually.