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What are Freeports?

Freeports are a strategic national initiative playing a critical role in lifting UK growth regionally and nationally, combining opportunities to invest locally, collaborate regionally and trade globally. They are a powerful, coordinated tool for bringing jobs and prosperity to deprived areas, helping key industries expand and driving net zero progress through investment in technology research and development.

Collage showing the sites within East Midlands Global Gateway

Designed to attract major domestic and international investment, these hubs of enterprise will allow places to carry out business inside a country’s land border but where different customs rules apply.​ At a Freeport, imports can enter with simplified customs documentation and without paying tariffs. Businesses operating inside designated areas in and around the port can manufacture goods using the imports and add value before exporting again without ever facing the full tariffs or procedures. If the goods move out of the Freeport into another part of the country, however, they have to go through the full import process, including paying any tariffs.

Freeports are similar to free zones, or ‘enterprise zones’, which are designated areas subject to a broad array of special regulatory requirements, tax breaks and government support. The difference is that a Freeport is designed to specifically encourage businesses that import, process and then re-export goods.

The East Midlands Freeport's business case sets out how the Freeport would deliver its vision.

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