The White House on Monday urged Britain and the European Union to return to talks to resolve differences over implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, but said it does not expect the issue to impede a US-UK trade dialogue next week.
"The US priority remains protecting the gains of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, and preserving peace, stability and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
Asked if Britain's plans to override some of the post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland could become an impediment for June 22nd US-UK trade discussions planned in Boston or a future US-UK trade deal, Ms Jean-Pierre said, "No, I don't believe it will be."
Speaking on Monday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the measures marked a “new low point” and accused Boris Johnson’s administration of “breaking the law”.
Mr Martin said: “it’s very regrettable for a country like the UK to renege on an international treaty”, adding: “It represents a new low point because the natural expectation of democratic countries like ourselves, the UK and all across Europe is that we honour international agreements that we enter into.”
The protocol is “an international deal ratified by British Parliament and approved by the PM”, the Taoiseach said, and breaching it “goes to the heart of the issue of trust”.
Mr Johnson insisted the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill contained only minor, bureaucratic changes, while Downing Street said it was an “insurance mechanism” in case a negotiated agreement with the EU could not be found.
Mr Johnson signed the Northern Ireland Protocol with the European Union as part of the Brexit divorce settlement, with the measures aimed at preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland.
But by imposing checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain, the protocol has fuelled unionist anger in Northern Ireland and is also opposed by Eurosceptics in Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party. - Additional reporting from Press Association