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Joe Biden is the current favourite to win the upcoming presidential election in the US — but as his odds grow, so do worries about a potential post-Brexit trade deal. The Democrat’s candidate is slightly ahead incumbent President Donald Trump in this year’s race. However, Downing Street has been strengthening its bond with Mr Trump during his time in office, to prepare for a trade deal after the UK has left the EU.
Mr Trump has been an enthusiastic supporter of Brexit from the start and promised the UK “this deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the EU” last year.
His opponent, on the other hand, has been clearly against Brexit.
Mr Biden has sided with the former President Barack Obama, who once said the UK would be at the “back of the queue” for a US trade deal if it left the EU.
If Mr Biden is elected, he has also made it clear that his priorities lie with helping Ireland, rather than the UK.
He allegedly had five Irish great-grandparents out of a possible eight, and he once penned an emotional letter to the Emerald Isle during a visit to his ancestral home.
During a visit to Ireland in 2016, when he was Vice-President, Mr Biden explained: “Northeast Pennsylvania will be written on my heart.
“But Ireland will be written on my soul.”
He said he wanted to honour “everything that Ireland had become and indeed everything that she has always been”.
He then claimed that Ireland and the US share values of “tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness”.
Mr Biden wrote: “I’ve been honored to have held a lot of titles.
“But I have always been and will always be the son of Kitty Finnegan.
“The grandson of Geraldine Finnegan from St. Paul’s Parish in Scranton; a proud descendant of the Finnegans of Ireland’s County Louth.”
He noted that he was also “deeply grateful to be taking along my children and grandchildren” to Ireland, and that being Irish has “shaped” his entire life.
Mr Biden was travelling to Ireland to celebrate the centenary of the Easter Rising at the time and the letter was written for Ancestry.com, the organisation that documented his visit.
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His ancestors moved across the Atlantic in the 1800s, but Mr Biden has emphasised that he will not forget the country when it comes to post-Brexit trade agreements.
A former aide told the New York Times: “The Irish cause is in his [Biden’s] veins.”
Mr Biden would “look out for the interests of Ireland in a post-Brexit Europe and would have little motive to prioritise an Anglo-American trade deal”, according to the newspaper’s London correspondent, Mark Landler.
A former British ambassador to the US, Peter Westmacott, also told the New York Times: “It will not be lost on Biden that the last two British Prime Ministers [Theresa May and Boris Johnson] went out of their way to be nice to and about Trump.”
When Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced the divisive Internal Market Bill last month, Mr Biden was quick to speak out against it.
He said: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.
“Any trade deal between the US and the UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”
The proposed legislation aimed to make sure Northern Ireland would have “unfettered access” to the rest of the UK — but doing so, it could undermine the Northern Ireland Protocol of the withdrawal agreement.
This would increase the risk of a hard border being put up between Northern Ireland and the Republic, which could potentially cause violence to return to the land barrier.
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