Slow Rise of Trade Politicisation in the UK and Brexit

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Slow Rise of Trade Politicisation in the UK and Brexit

  • María García Politics, Languages and International Studies, University of Bath, UK

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Abstract:  Since the Brexit referendum, the UK government has deployed a vision of ‘Global Britain’ revolving around trade agreements, yet, this was not a key issue in the referendum. Drawing on politicisation literature, we explore the absence of visible activism around future trade policy, in contrast to moderate activity around the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). We identify actors in UK TTIP mobilisation and trace their actions post-referendum, revealing politicisation as campaigners participate in channels for attempting to influence future UK trade policy. In the presence of these channels and lack of full clarity on future policy, to date, recourse to visible mobilisation in the public space has not yet occurred. Tracing this dynamic process, intertwining Brexit and trade policy, enables us to understand how politicisation of one process affects another. Crucially, given the context of re-nationalisation of trade policy, it allows us to explore how politicisation is operationalised in the absence of one of the key conditions for politicisation suggested in the literature: the transfer of authority to a more remote level of governance.

Keywords:  Brexit; contestation; media; politicisation; trade; Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership


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© María García. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.