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Nancy Pelosi repeats pledge that US-UK trade deal won't pass Congress if Brexit 'imperils' Northern Ireland

Pelosi said the Good Friday Agreement needed to be protected, and was “a beacon of hope for the entire world”.

Image: Salvador Melendez

US HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi has repeated her warning that a US-UK trade deal wouldn’t pass through Congress if Brexit undermines the Good Friday Agreement.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Monday that the US government wanted “to move very quickly” on a trade deal with Britain after it leaves the EU, and that they were “first in line” for a future trade deal.

These comments which were welcomed by Brexiteers, as the threat of a no-deal Brexit looms ahead on 31 October.

“No longer at the back of the queue,” Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees Mogg tweeted, with a link to Bolton’s comments.

The UK currently trades with the US under the EU’s trade rules, which must be followed by all member states. One of the main arguments in favour of a hard Brexit is that it would leave the US free to negotiate new trade deals with other countries. 

If the UK’s post-Brexit rules diverge greatly from the EU’s, it compounds the problems on the island of Ireland – the more different the rules are, the more necessary a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland would be. 

Today, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, repeated comments that she made in April during a visit to Ireland where she stated that the Good Friday Agreement needed to be protected no matter the Brexit outcome, and said that it was “a value” that she and her colleagues would protect.

“The Good Friday Agreement serves as the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and as a beacon of hope for the entire world. After centuries of conflict and bloodshed, the world has witnessed a miracle of reconciliation and progress made possible because of this transformative accord.

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. We cannot go back.

“If Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress. The peace of the Good Friday Agreement is treasured by the American people and will be fiercely defended on a bicameral and bipartisan basis in the United States Congress.”

In a column for The Times today, former UK Chancellor Philip Hammond warned about the assumptions that a free trade deal with the US would benefit the UK:

When our American friends talk about doing ‘a great trade deal’, they mean a trade deal that is great for America – one that opens the UK’s food market to American agricultural produce, produced to American standards, in a move that will ultimately destroy British agriculture.

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