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Outcome of the Freeports consultation

The UK government publishes the outcome of the Freeports consultation with the intention to boost economic activity across the UK, ‘levelling up towns, cities and regions across the country’.

As part of this, the government wants to establish Freeports, which will have different customs rules to the rest of the country with the intention to; boost global trade, attract inward investment and increase productivity. In doing so, the government wants Freeports to generate employment opportunities to the benefit of some of our most deprived communities around the UK.

The following objectives have been set out by government:

  • Establish Freeports as national hubs for global trade and investment across the UK
  • Promote regeneration and job creation
  • Create hotbeds for innovation

On 7 October 2020, the government issued their outcome of the consultation which can viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/freeports-consultation?utm_source=01e63268-75fd-446e-b50d-633384056156&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=daily

The main points published are that it is intended to establish at least one Freeport in each of the devolved nations, with the document highlighting certain key requirements including:

  • That the Freeport is a specific geographical location, although satellite areas are possible
  • Security arrangements
  • Control of movement including the need for a Freeport to be inventory linked
  • Applicable customs procedures

British International Freight Association, Executive Director & Policy and Compliance Manager, Robert Windsor said:

"To date the majority of BIFA’s Membership have been indifferent to this development", noting that "Freeports will provide very few new advantages compared to the existing Customs Special Procedures, which from 1 January 2021 will no longer need a guarantee to operate."

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