Free Trade Zones—a potential opportunity for the U.K.?

Tempo de leitura: 1 minuto

The U.K. government has set out plans to introduce up to 10 post-Brexit freeports by the end of 2020. Robert Marchant of Crowe considers how this would work in practice. In February 2020, the U.K. government issued a consultation on reintroducing freeports as part of its post-Brexit international trade strategy. 

As a member of the EU, the U.K. has been unable to negotiate its own individual trade agreements and it is possible that non-EU countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia and India, and emerging markets in Africa and South America, present significant trading opportunities that can be better developed when the U.K. is able to negotiate its own, bespoke trade terms, unrestricted by EU frameworks.

One area of potential opportunity which would be possible if the U.K. left the Single Market and Customs Union would be to reinstate free trade zones (FTZs) in the U.K. The government has begun a period of consultation to assess the merits and feasibility of such a move. 

At the same time, the U.K. has a significant amount of trade with the EU which U.K. businesses will want to maintain once it has left the EU. Given the U.K.’s close physical proximity to the EU, it is well placed to continue to sell into those markets and the use of FTZs could help to incentivize businesses to remain in the U.K. (rather than relocate to the EU), or even attract new investment from foreign companies that could expand by using the U.K. as a base for selling into the EU, as well as the home U.K. market.

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