Special Economic Zones may boost Italian port’s growth

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The proposal to activate a special economic zone in the city of Genoa, hit by the Morandi bridge disaster, is important. It is facing a human, economic and social catastrophe, and any measure that is useful to accelerate the reconstruction of the bridge and, above all, the trust of the people is welcome.

But beyond the facts and the safety of the infrastructure, it would be necessary to have a strategic non-emergency reflection to understand which concrete measures can be put in place quickly to activate rapid development processes.

The basis of this reflection could be to create a series of “tax free” or “Special Economic Zones”, with the aim of facilitating the establishment of Italian companies and attracting foreign firms. Clearly, the choice of areas should be supported by the presence of infrastructural hubs to favour intermodal processes.

The legislation already exists because the decree n. 91/2017 provided for the establishment of special economic zones in the southern regions. The zones have the objective to attract foreign or extra-regional investments, through incentives, facilitations and regulatory exemptions. In the world there are about 2,700 such zones, China and Dubai are the majority shareholders in quantitative terms. In the EU system there are about 70 and, incidentally, the most numerous are in the emerging industrial countries like Poland. In Italy, we are working on Gioia Tauro, the Naples-Salerno area and the Abruzzo-Molise area.

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