The Government is planning to set up a group of freeports around the UK that will provide businesses with duty-free trade zones that have added tax and customs advantages.

Through using the trade zones, businesses will be able to import, warehouse then export the products out of the country all duty-free. This will reduce costs for businesses, as well as allowing them to defer tax on products stored on-site to aid cashflow.

Incentives such as tax breaks may also be offered by the Government to encourage companies to relocate there.

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) claim there are roughly 3,500 free trade zones across the globe, employing 66 million people. In the US there are 250 zones which handle around $750 billion worth of merchandise every year.

It is estimated that a UK freeport system would create around 86,000 more jobs for the economy, largely in industrial areas outside London.

Locations and regulations have not yet been released but the Government are planning to allow existing ports and airports to bid to become hubs for business and enterprise once the UK leaves the European Union.

To date, Teesport, the Port of Tyne, Milford Haven and London Gateway have all expressed an interest in gaining freeport status.

Liz Truss, international trade secretary, 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.”

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