UK outlines new plans for post-Brexit freeports

The Houses of Parliament, seen across Westminster Bridge (Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
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The British government announced Wednesday further details for new innovative Freeports in post-Brexit period, a move aimed to “create jobs, drive investment and regenerate communities.”

“Next steps set out today for the creation of Freeports, driving investment and creating jobs after the end of the transition period (Dec.31, 2020),” the Treasury said in a statement.

The bidding process for locations of the Freeport in England will open by the end of 2020, said the statement, adding that “the first Freeports are on track to be open by the end of 2021.”

The core of the new Freeports policy is an “ambitious new customs model,” said the statement, with improving upon both the existing and previous customs arrangements.

“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,” said the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

The government is seeking to build “at least one Freeport in each nation of the UK,” added Sunak, referring to the four devolved administrations including England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

A package of tax reliefs for business investment will be introduced in the Freeports, according to the statement, with speeding up planning processes to “accelerate development” through a wide range of fresh measures.

The freeport idea was first raised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his campaign to become a Conservative leader, according to the English newspaper The Guardian.

Up to 10 new innovative Freeports are expected to be opened across Britain, which would cover “the sea, air, and rail ports,” the government had said before the coronavirus pandemic this year.

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