The government has announced plans for up to 10 freeports to be opened across the UK as part of a wider plan to ‘regenerate communities and turbocharge Britain’s post-Brexit growth’.
Currently in a 10-week consultation period, the aim is to announce the location of the new zones before the end of the year and to begin operating in 2021.
The hope is that the freeports will boost trade, jobs and investment whilst also creating innovate business clusters and hubs of business and enterprise.
New Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, commented that: “Freeports will unleash the potential in our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK as we level up. They will attract new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.
“This is all part of our mission as an open, outward-looking country, championing global free trade with vibrant Freeports that work for all of the UK.”
Businesses secretary Andrea Leadsom also noted that the free ports will help create more jobs whilst underscoring the UK’s commitment to global free trade, whilst Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry said that freeports will boost the region in particular.
The model would mean that duty wouldn’t need to be paid if products are re-exported, raw materials can avoid duties until made into the final product and a full customs declaration wouldn’t be required.
The government says it’s also assessing new tax measures to support investment in infrastructure and machinery around freeports to stimulate productivity and reducing the cost of hiring required workers.