Published: Thu, February 13, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Kingdom government launches freeports consultation

United Kingdom government launches freeports consultation

"The government has confirmed plans to introduce import controls on European Union goods at the border after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020", a government statement said.

Thus, the government of the country has launched a 10-week consultation process that is aimed to create plans for the free ports, also known as free trade zones.

Senior minister Michael Gove said European Union imports would face the same checks as those from the rest of the world, after a post-Brexit transition period ends in December.

It states that the core customs and tariff benefits the government proposes to offer to businesses bringing goods into in a freeport site include duty suspension, duty inversion, duty exemption for re-exports and simplified customs procedures.

They will feature "cutting-edge customs, transport and green technologies to be trialled in controlled environments, before being adopted more widely in relevant sectors of the economy", it added.

It was also important to "treat all partners equally as we begin to negotiate our own trading arrangements with countries around the world", the statement said.

If the duty on a finished product is lower than that on the component parts, a company could benefit by importing components duty free, manufacture the final product in the freeport, and then pay the duty at the rate of the finished product when it enters the UK's domestic market.

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Freeport status will benefit ports differently depending on their current traffic/business profile and specialisation.

"Backed by a pro-enterprise Budget for skills, infrastructure and innovation, business can help kick start a new decade of United Kingdom growth and job creation", Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry said in a statement on Monday.

The government recommended businesses to prepare for border controls by getting an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number and asses how they want to make declarations.

Meanwhile, the government is considering new tax measures with an aim to enhance investment, stimulate innovation and cut costs.

Any incentives offered in a freeport would need to be tested against a number of stated objectives.

Freeports could be located inland as well as adjacent to ports, potentially reducing relocation or investment costs for existing manufacturing sites near ports.

Officials claimed the UK's "high standards with respect to security, safety, workers" rights, and the environment' will not be compromised.

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