The UK government doesn’t expect that a possible decision to override parts of its Brexit deal’s conditions for Northern Ireland will lead to a trade war with the European Union, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told the BBC.
“I don’t think there will be a trade war,” Kwarteng said Sunday in a BBC television interview. “I think it would be completely self-defeating if they went into a trade war, but it’s up to them.”
Relations between the UK and the EU have deteriorated to a crisis point over the UK’s repeated threat to unilaterally re-write the Brexit divorce deal, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government negotiated and signed—and has yet to fully implement—but now argues was never meant to be the “finished” solution.
Kwarteng reiterated that the government has the right to unilaterally “re-look” at the Northern Ireland protocol, which sets conditions on trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the EU. The EU has threatened to respond by putting up barriers to UK trade.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss it due to set out details as soon as this week on how the government plans to address what it sees as economic and political disruption caused by the protocol, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on Friday. Still, she doesn’t intend to scrap the parts of the deal affecting the region immediately and wants to keep talking to the bloc, one of the people said.