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Boris Johnson admits defeat on US trade deal after Joe Biden talks

Boris Johnson admits defeat on US trade deal after Joe Biden talks

 


Boris Johnson admitted to having scaled back its ambitions for post-Brexit relations with the United States after conceding Joe Biden does not negotiate free trade pacts.

After more than 90 minutes of interview with the president at the White House, the Prime Minister admitted Wednesday that it is currently seeking only incremental steps on trade with the United States.

Mr Johnson welcomed the announcement of a ban on British Lamb imports into the United States would be cut, but this has dampened hopes that a comprehensive free trade deal, touted as one of the main prizes of Brexit, will be negotiated in the near future.

There are a lot of people in this building behind me who definitely want a deal

Boris Johnson

Speaking to reporters outside the US Capitol in Washington, the prime minister said: I can tell you today that what the United States is going to get now is a lifting of the long-standing ban several decades, completely unjustified, discriminatory against British farmers and British Lamb.

It was about time too. And what we want to do is take solid, progressive steps on trade.

The Biden administration isn't making any free trade deals around the world right now, but I'm absolutely convinced there's a lot that can be done.

And there are a lot of people in this building behind me who certainly want a deal.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson briefed the president on recent developments with the North Ireland Protocol during their meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

Mr Biden has issued a fresh warning to the UK not to damage the peace process in Northern Ireland over its departure from the EU.

He did not contradict his predecessor Barack Obama's assertion that Britain would be at the back of the queue for a post-Brexit free trade deal.

Sitting next to Mr. Johnson in the Oval Office, Mr. Biden told reporters: “We're going to talk a little bit about trade today and we're going to have to get it right.

He said he was very concerned about issues surrounding the peace process as issues with the protocol persisted.

And I would not at all like to see, and I would add, many of my Republican colleagues would not like to see a change in the Irish agreements, with the end result being a closed border in Ireland, he said.

Mr Johnson said this was absolutely true, adding: On that point, Joe, we completely agree, no one wants to see anything that interrupts or unbalances the Belfast/Friday Agreement Holy.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister had briefed Mr Biden on developments in protocol since their last meeting in June.

The White House said Mr Biden reiterated his long-standing support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and benefit from the gains of a hard-won peace.

The UK is seeking to renegotiate the terms of the Brexit deal with the EU.

The protocol means that Northern Ireland is effectively part of the EU's single market for goods, to avoid a hard border with Ireland, which creates a trade barrier for products crossing the Irish Sea from of Great Britain.

In Northern Ireland, ministers from the DUP and Sinn Fein offered contrasting reactions to Mr Biden's comments.

Sinn Fein Finance Minister Conor Murphy said the president had reminded Mr Johnson that the Prime Minister would risk any future US trade deal if he abandoned the protocol.

However, DUP Prime Minister Paul Givan insisted it was the protocol that destroyed the terms of the Good Friday Peace Agreement by creating east-west barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

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