Boris Johnson admits set-back in securing a US trade deal
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Officials in the Biden-administration have voiced concerns over the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol, created to prevent a hard border, and its potential impact on the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement (GFA). Brexit Minister Lord Frost has been leading negotiations with the EU over the implementation of checks on goods in Belfast and the UK has threatened to trigger Article 16 and abandon the agreement if progress is not made.
Now the UK’s Brexit negotiator took an apparent swipe at the US and insisted the Protocol was “for us to decide and sort out with the EU as we wish”.
The remarks have raised alarm bells in the Biden-administration and one official said the Belfast Agreement must be adhered to “at all costs”, and insisted Washington was “involved in this matter and the UK must respect that”
Another insider told Express.co.uk: “The President will continue to show his support for a prosperous Northern Ireland which is stable and this will not change.”
The UK Government has always vowed to honour the 1998 Good Friday Agreement to maintain peace in Northern Ireland.
And the unnecessary intervention from across the Atlantic has sparked a furious reaction from a number of Express.co.uk readers.
Many let their opinions known in the comments section of a previous story, with one user telling the US President to “mind your own business”.
Altsim wrote: “Hey Joe, before you criticise UK you need to sort out your own border problems and those you caused in Afghanistan.”
Kennethchapman added: “Time to tell Sleepy Joe to keep his neck out of British business and also tell him there will be NO free trade agreement with the USA and if Britain wants to trigger Article 16 to protect our country, it is up to us to do that.
“He would not like us telling him that we are cutting of Alaska or Texas from the rest of the USA.”
Agammemnon said: “Biden and his less than organised administration appear not to understand that the Protocol, as it is being enforced, is undermining the GFA.
“Given that neither the Government of the UK nor ROI have any intention of creating a hard infrastructure border, if none of the measures in the Protocol were implemented life would simply go on.
“The five percent to eight percent of cross border trade can be handled by a combination of electronic data and trusted trader measures. The sticking point is the EU’s intransigence.”
Meanwhile, Nantucketsue simply said: “There is one message the Government should be giving to Biden and his entourage. Mind your own business.”
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The Northern Ireland Protocol was created to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, but Unionists argue it has effectively placed a trade barrier down the Irish Sea.
The Protocol ties Belfast to the rules of the EU single market, while the rest of the UK is not.
Grace period on some checks, including on chilled meats, have been suspended indefinitely while negotiations continue over the wider aspects of the complex deal.
The US President, who has Irish heritage, raised concerns about the impact of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement during a meeting with Boris Johnson in the White House last month.
Mr Biden said: “We spent an enormous amount of time and effort, the United States, it was a major bipartisan effort made.
“And I would not at all like to see, nor I might add would many of my Republican colleagues like to see, a change in the Irish accords, the end result having a closed border in Ireland.”
Meanwhile, the European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic has said he hopes to brief the UK Government on the “very far-reaching” proposals on the Protocol within the next fortnight.
The proposals will focus on animal checks, customs, medicine supplies and providing a voice for Northern Irish representatives in the EU.
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