Pelosi warns Britain that N. Ireland peace breakdown would imperil post-Brexit trade deal

Pelosi warns Britain that N. Ireland peace breakdown would imperil post-Brexit trade deal
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSen. Ron Johnson hoping for Democratic 'gridlock' on reconciliation package Virginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda  Biden struggles to rein in Saudi Arabia amid human rights concerns MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday warned the United Kingdom that any breakdown of the 1998 peace agreement with Northern Ireland that ended decades of violence would ruin chances of a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S.

The Democratic leader said in remarks at an event hosted by London-based policy think tank Chatham House that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s delay of implementing provisions of the 2020 Brexit treaty’s Northern Ireland Protocol could come into conflict with the Good Friday Agreement. 

The peace deal ended three decades of the Troubles, the violent conflict between Irish Catholic nationalist militants and pro-British loyalists that resulted in the deaths of roughly 3,600 people, according to Reuters

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"If there is destruction of the Good Friday accords, they [are] very unlikely to have a U.K.-U.S. bilateral,” Pelosi said Friday. 

Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol mandates that the province remains both in the U.K.’s customs territory while also in the European Union’s single market. 

However, since the U.K.’s official exit from the EU in January, Johnson has put off implementing some provisions of the protocol, which his top negotiator has referred to as unsustainable, according to Reuters. 

Nevertheless, Britain has continued to call on Congress to reach a new bilateral trade agreement, with the British Embassy in Washington saying in June that it planned on distributing reports to every member of Congress detailing how U.S. trade with the U.K. impacts their voters. 

The embassy’s reports, for example, noted that Pelosi’s California district exported $1.1 billion in services to the U.K. in 2019, effectively making Britain the district’s largest export market that year. 

Pelosi at the Friday event also criticized how capitalism has been implemented in the U.S., arguing that while “it is our economic system,” it “has not served our economy as well as it should.” 

"You cannot have a system where the success of some springs from the exploitation of the workers and springs from the exploitation of the environment and the rest, and we have to correct that," she argued.