November 23, 2018 / 1:28 PM / 17 days ago

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

A bus stop with both Northern Irish and Irish stop signs are seen in the border town of Belleek, Northern Ireland October 14, 2016. 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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