Freeports breakdown as pillar under post brexit economy
Boris Johnson has promoted freeports as a key benefit from brexit, even though the UK was able to operate them as a member of the European Union and did so from the 1980s to 2012, when the Conservative-led government decided not to renew licences.
But a government spokesperson insisted that companies will be able to choose between benefiting from either the “duty drawback” arrangements available to them in freeport zones or the preferential tariff rates negotiated in the free trade deals. BUT NOT BOTH
Rollover free trade deals signed with 23 countries including Canada, Switzerland, Norway and Singapore feature clauses specifically excluding manufacturers benefiting from freeport tax breaks, said shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry. Trade secretary Liz Truss made a “catastrophic blunder”
which could mean that UK companies which sign up to the government’s flagship freeport programme will be shut out of export markets worth £35bn a year. Although applying to countries accounting for £35.6bn of UK trade, the problem does not apply to the UK-EU trade deal.