The UK Government said it wants to see at least one freeport in Wales, but the Welsh Government have asked for greater clarity on their economic impact.
With some of the planned levers to support freeports being a devolved matter for the Welsh Government, it said it would expect to set the criteria and oversee the bidding process for any freeports established in Wales — although it is concerned that they could fuel job and economic displacement by moving investment from poor parts of the UK to more prosperous areas.
However, under the last Labour administration of Carwyn Jones , enterprise zones, providing some tax breaks and more focused supported to businesses within them, were a flagship economic policy.
Following a consultation, for which there were 23 submissions specifically from Wales, the UK Government has confirmed that sea, air and rail ports in England will be invited to bid for freeport status before the end of the year, with the aim of the first new sites being open for business in 2021, ranging in size from 300 to 600 hectares.
Championed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the UK Government said that freeports would provide an economic boost following the ending of the transition period with the EU from January 1st, 2021.
They said they would benefit from:
Mr Sunak said:”Our new freeports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK and supporting jobs.
“They will attract investment from around the world as we embrace new opportunities following our departure from the EU and will be a key driver for economic recovery as we build back better post coronavirus.” . . . .
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Cities and towns in England can soon bid to become Freeports next year, a HM Treasury initiative aimed at giving businesses tax breaks and more relaxed customs procedures.
The government confirmed yesterday that sea, air and rail ports in England are invited to bid for ‘freeport status’ before the end of the year, with the freeports open by the end of 2021.
It aims to establish at least one Freeport in each nation of the UK.
After a consultation with industry from February to July, the government confirmed that freeports will benefit from:
Freeports are zones considered outside a country for customs purposes, allowing goods and components to be imported and exported from the zone tariff-free. The government sees them as an important tool to build post-Brexit growth by attracting domestic and international investment.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has drawn up plans for a first wave of 10 freeports in the UK next year. The government is working with devolved administrations to enable the creation of freeports in all four nations of the UK, promising they will be selected “through a fair, transparent and competitive process “.
British Ports Association chief Richard Ballantyne welcomed the fact that the government has taken a more inclusive view of the number of potential freeports that could be designated, telling Hellenic Shipping News: “Government can now explore how to better deliver on its levelling up agenda without picking regions over each other”