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Announced today, the UK Government appointed Trevor Ringland MBE, a Northern Irish solicitor, as envoy to the US on Northern Ireland. The position will be responsible for promoting the interest of Northern Ireland to the US, amid the row between the UK and EU over the Northern Ireland protocol. With the protocol creating several issues for businesses in the country, the creation of the new position will reflect the UK’s role in maintaining the peace in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the role, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “I am delighted that Trevor has accepted my invitation to take up this position to represent the UK Government in Northern Ireland, working to support its best interests in the United States.
“This is an exciting new appointment and recognises Northern Ireland’s unique relationship with the United States and its people.
“I look forward to working with Trevor to harness all the opportunities that lie ahead.”
The former rugby union player will also work to create economic ties between the UK and US and had served as co-chairman of the Northern Ireland Conservatives.
Mr Ringland will now travel up to six times to the US in order to boost ties and highlight issues in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the announcement, Mr Ringland said: “I am honoured to take up this role on behalf of the UK Government.
“I very much look forward to supporting the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in ensuring the UK Government’s policies on Northern Ireland are well represented to US audiences and playing my part in forging deeper political, social and economic ties between our two countries.”
Last year Joe Biden issued a warning to the UK not to damage the peace process in Northern Ireland following the introduction of the Internal Market Bill.
Mr Biden, who has voiced his love of his ancestral home, had even threatened to torpedo any trade deal with the UK if Westminster violates the Good Friday Agreement.
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The appointment of the new role comes as the EU and UK will hold talks over Northern Ireland on Wednesday.
Many businesses have complained of the disruption caused by the protocol and have warned it leaves Northern separated from the rest of the UK.
Under the protocol, Northern Ireland has remained within the EU’s single market and will adhere to some customs union rules.
Due to this, some have called for the protocol to be scrapped amid the rising tensions in Belfast.
The two sides will meet this week to discuss a way out of the tensions and it is thought the EU may remove barriers on certain products.
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The UK had extended the grace period for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland until October in order to avoid issues in Belfast.
Brussels will now offer to remove checks on medicine supplies to Northern Ireland in a bid to break the deadlock.
The grace period for medicines is expected to end at the end of this year before checks will then be applied on medicines.
The EU has also called on the UK to provide a roadmap out of the issues surrounding the protocol.
EU Commissioner for Capital Markets Mairead McGuinness also accused the UK of attempting to rewrite the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
She told the Irish Independent: “You can’t wash your hands of an agreement that you shaped and made and signed.
“It just isn’t credible to do that.
“And I’m sure there are other countries, including the US, that are looking at what the UK are doing and maybe asking questions about the credibility of doing any deals with the United Kingdom.”
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