UK minister says Irish backstop would create issues for future trade deals


A road which crosses the border from County Donegal in Ireland to County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, is seen from near the border village of Lenamore, Ireland, February 1, 2018. There are no markings apart from the change in roadsigns. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain would have issues negotiating trade deals with new partners if an Irish border backstop arrangement came into effect, trade minister Liam Fox said on Friday, but reservations about it on both sides suggest it won’t need to be used.

“If we were in the backstop, it would be quite difficult for us to engage with partners, not knowing when the end date would be when we could implement any agreement. And so our aim is that we would never get to the backstop,” Fox told broadcasters on a trip to Northern Ireland.

He added that reservations in Ireland and other EU countries about the impact of the backstop being used, as well as in Britain, were “the best guarantee we’d never actually get there.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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