Boris Johnson Widens Push for Singapore-Style Free Ports in U.K.
02 Aug 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is expanding plans to create free ports in the U.K., which he says will boost the post-Brexit economy.

An advisory panel that will look at setting up as many as 10 such ports will be unveiled Friday by Trade Secretary Liz Truss during a visit to PD Ports Ltd. Teesport in northeastern England, where local Mayor Ben Houchen has championed the concept.

Goods entering free ports are exempt from import taxes and tariffs and often benefit from simplified regulations, helping bring economic success to locations such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Johnson says membership in the European Union has held Britain back from setting up free ports. He has previously called for about six such zones to be established.

Port of Tyne, Milford Haven and London Gateway have also expressed an interest in the bidding process, according to the government.

But the idea has been criticized as backdoor route for tax evaders. The European Commission last month said free ports were vulnerable to money laundering or terrorism financing.

By Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg, 1 August 2019

Read more at Bloomberg

Photo: UK Prime Minister [OGL 3], via Wikimedia Commons

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