Britain's Johnson says confident of tariff-free trade deal with EU

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the media after meeting with Deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill of Sinn Fein, First Minister Arlene Foster of the DUP as the power sharing government prepares to sit for the first time in three years in Belfast, Northern Ireland January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan

BELFAST (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said he was confident that he could secure a zero-tariff, zero-quota trade deal with the European Union, which would ensure no checks on goods being moved from Britain to Northern Ireland.

Johnson was speaking to journalists in Northern Ireland, a British region that has agreed to maintain alignment with EU market rules under Britain’s EU exit deal in order to avoid a hard border with EU member Ireland.

“The only circumstances in which you could imagine the need for checks coming from GB (Great Britain) to NI (Northern Ireland) ... is if those goods were going on into Ireland and we had not secured - which I hope and I am confident we will - a zero-tariff and zero-quota agreement with our friends and partners in the EU,” Johnson said.

Reporting by Ian Graham. Writing by Conor Humphries. Editing by Andrew MacAskill