U.K. Trade Deal After Brexit May Take Many Years, Irish PM Says

(Bloomberg) -- Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said it may take “many years” to work out a trade agreement with the U.K. following its exit from the European Union, warning again he won’t accept any deal that leads to a border on the island.

Varadkar said in parliament in Dublin on Tuesday that while Ireland wants the EU to reach a trade deal with the U.K., Britain’s red lines add to the difficulty in sealing a quick accord. As the clock ticks down to the British exit, he said he’s “fully confident the EU27 have our back” when it comes to avoiding border checks after Brexit.

“They all know that I won’t agree, nor will the government, to anything that gives rise to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland,” he said.

In recent weeks, Varadkar has toughened warnings that he won’t cave into any potential pressure from either side to accept border controls. After the U.K. leaves the union, Ireland’s 310-mile (500-kilometer) border running from near Derry in the north to Dundalk in the south will form the EU’s land frontier with Britain.

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