The UK Government argues that freeports will provide significant customs benefits for businesses - but not everyone agrees. In this briefing, part of a series on UK freeports, we look at the types of business that might benefit from freeport customs arrangements and whether the critics are right to be sceptical.
Freeports: the background
Earlier this year, the UK Government announced plans for 10 new freeports, which it hopes will support its "levelling up" agenda. Freeports are special economic zones based around one or more transport hubs (e.g. a port or airport). The policy was partly inspired by the success of freeports in the US, where special customs arrangements have played an important role in attracting businesses. However, the proposed UK freeports will offer a range of other benefits as well, including advantageous tax and planning treatment – and as explained below, this is important to bear in mind when assessing the potential opportunity offered by freeports. For more information, see our briefing "Freeports: what, where and when?".