US trade deal ‘highly unlikely’ with Irish hard border, Boris Johnson warned

A hard border on the island of Ireland would make a US-UK trade deal “highly unlikely”, the Prime Minister has been warned.

The Congressional Friends of Ireland, a group in the US Congress which supports and promotes peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, has written to Boris Johnson warning that it will oppose any US-UK trade deal if it risks undermining the Good Friday Agreement.

The group warned the Prime Minister that any trade deal between the UK and the US would be “highly unlikely” if the Good Friday Agreement is in any way weakened.

This comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Mr Johnson he has 30 days to come up with an alternative solution to replace the backstop.

According to the letter: “The United States, and the more than 33 million Americans with Irish ancestry, share a genuine interest in the continued success of the Good Friday Agreement and the hard-won peace and prosperity it has brought to so many.

Part of a former smuggling route covering both sides of the Irish border (Michael McHugh/PA)

“As you know, America is guarantor of that international peace accord.

“That is why we strongly oppose any unravelling of the historic treaty or a return of a physical border on the island of Ireland under any circumstances.

“We share the view expressed by other leaders in Congress that any weakening of the Good Friday Agreement or threat to the 310 mile seamless border would make the prospect of a future US-UK trade deal highly unlikely.”

The letter raises concerns about the “tension-filled summer” in Northern Ireland, saying the peace process is “still fragile and needs to be nurtured”.

It adds: “We will oppose any US-UK trade deal if the Good Friday Agreement is undermined.”

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