British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has issued further details about the United Kingdom’s freeport agenda, arguing that it will ‘attract investment from around the world’.
Early next year, the Treasury is to begin taking proposals and bids from towns and cities across England host one of a number of Freeports, with first to be inaugurated by the end of 2021.
Businesses that establish themselves in Freeports will receive tax cuts on investment spending, license to import and process goods on a tariff free basis as well as benefit from liberalised planning processes in order to accelerate development. It is hoped the establishment of Freeports will aid the regeneration of coastal cities and towns, which over the past few decades, have increasingly fallen behind the UK’s major cities.
The latest development from Rishi Sunak is understood to be a concrete commitment for Britain to replicate the successes of other Special Economic Zones around the world, most notably those found in the UAE and Singapore. In our first report, GENN has strongly advocated for the development of Special Economic Zones and Advanced Special Economic Zones as the United Kingdom regains its fully independent trade and regulatory policy.
According to a 2019 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, there are only 105 Special Economic Zones in Europe with no additional zones planned. This contrasts to much of the rest of the world where Asia alone has 4,066 Special Economic Zones with a further 502 planned.