The new International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss MP, last week announced a new Freeports Advisory Panel to advise in the establishment of up to 10 Freeports in the UK. Freeports reduce costs and bureaucracy for manufacturing businesses and traders and include customs and tax benefits. This allows the ports to become hubs for businesses and enterprises and create a wealth of jobs and opportunities for local people.
It is argued that Freeports should ensure Britain’s port cities and airports are well placed to take full advantage of post-Brexit opportunities, as the UK looks to forge its independent trade policy and increase trade with the USA and emerging markets in Asia and beyond. It is hoped that the country’s ports and airports could be transformed in a similar way to how liberalised planning transformed London’s Docklands area in the 1980s.
Ports and airports will be invited to bid to become one of the first 10 Freeports in the UK. Applications will be reviewed by a Freeports Advisory Panel that will include ministers from HM Treasury, the Department for International Trade, and technology, business, economic and tax experts. More details about how they will be able to bid for Freeport status will be announced soon, according to the Government website.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss MP said:
“Freedoms transformed London’s Docklands in the 1980s, and Freeports will do the same for towns and cities across the UK. They will onshore enterprise and manufacturing as the gateway to our future prosperity, creating thousands of jobs.
“We will have a truly independent trade policy after we leave the EU on October 31. I look forward to working with the Freeports Advisory Panel to create the world’s most advanced Freeport model and launch the new ports as soon as possible.”
Free trading zones already operate around the world with the United States pioneering the creation of 250 free trade zones, employing 420,000 people.