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12th May 2022

Freeport to be established in Wales

An agreement has been reached between the Welsh Government and UK Government to establish a Freeport in Wales.

Freeports were first introduced in the UK in the 1980s with the aim of increasing economic activity and growth but were phased out by 2012. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the UK Government decided to reintroduce Freeports as part of its levelling up strategy to create jobs, promote regeneration and innovation, and establish national hubs for international trade and investment.

The agreement means that any Freeport established in Wales will receive at least £26m of non-repayable starter funding, equivalent to the deals offered to English Freeports. The governments will work together as a partnership of equals to deliver the Freeport which must operate in a way that aligns with Welsh Government policies on sustainability, net zero and fair work practices.

What is a Freeport?

A Freeport is a special economic zone centred around air, rail or shipping ports. There is a 45km boundary limit, but this can be relaxed if there is a compelling business case for a multi-site Freeport.

Freeports benefit from a variety of tax reliefs including business rates and land transaction tax, as well as access to simplified customs arrangements. Businesses operating within the designated areas of the Freeport can import, manufacture and export goods with less documentation and delay paying tariffs until a later date.

Where will Wales’ first Freeport be?

The port of Holyhead, one of the UK’s busiest ports, has a strong case for its bid with local businesses and politicians supporting it. Other locations expected to compete for Freeport status are Barry, Cardiff Airport, Fishguard, Milford Haven, Newport, Port Talbot and Swansea.

All sites bidding to become Freeports must demonstrate how they will create high-quality employment opportunities and meet the Welsh Government’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050.

At Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, our international team keep up to date with all the latest regulations, policies and announcements which affect businesses who trade globally.

As a dedicated customs intermediary, the Chamber can manage all HMRC declarations through every port, helping businesses keep goods moving and ensuring compliance at every stage.

Find out more: https://cw-seswm.com/international/

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