Professor Christopher Dent
Professor Christopher Dent

Professor Christopher Dent, an international political economist at Edge Hill University, has been appointed as a Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons International Trade Committee. 

Prof Dent, a Professor in Economics and International Business at Edge Hill’s Business School, will provide expert advice to the Committee, which comprises a cross-party selection of Members of Parliament who scrutinise the government’s trade policy and negotiations on new trade agreements. 

His appointment comes as Britain begins to formulate its own independent trade policy following the country’s departure from the EU last year. 

Prof Dent has been researching on trade matters for more than 20 years, especially on free trade agreements (FTAs), which have become the most important form of trade policy and diplomacy over that time.  

He said: “I have studied FTAs around the world but have had a particularly keen interest in the Asia-Pacific region, where many of Britain’s most important future trade relationships are located. 

“The UK government will soon be starting FTA negotiations with a regional bloc of Asia-Pacific nations, and also separately with Australia and New Zealand on one-on-one trade deals.  

“In my new role I will provide the Committee with advice on both the economics and politics of the Asia-Pacific, and the different ways these could impact on Britain’s trade talks with these countries.” 

More recently, Prof Dent has researched the links between climate action and trade policy, and how climate action relate measures are gaining more prominence in free trade agreements. 

He added: “The links between climate action policy and trade policy will only become stronger in time. One of my other tasks as Specialist Advisor it to provide insights here and try to encourage the UK government to adopt an ambitious approach on relevant climate action issues in its international trade negotiations. 

“It is an area where Britain could possible become a pioneer. Given the UK’s recent intensification of its climate action policies and strategies – and Glasgow’s hosting of the crucial COP26 Climate Summit meeting in November – this is a crucially important area where Britain could develop new and innovative approaches in its FTAs and trade policy generally and become a world leader.” 

As well as teaching on sustainability at Edge Hill’s Business School, Prof Dent is also the leader of SustainNET, a network group of sustainability-passionate staff and students at Edge Hill under the Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR). 

In addition, he chairs the University’s newly created Sustainability Group that is helping co-ordinate and develop Edge Hill’s work on sustainability on various fronts. 

The Business School offers students an environment to grow and develop, enriched by our partnerships with some of the world’s leading universities, with key national regional and local employers and businesses and with the major professional bodies across its degree subjects.

If you are interested in joining SustainNET, please contact Professor Dent directly at dentc@edgehill.ac.uk.