Call For Special Status For UK Seaports
A new trade campaign coalition has called on the UK Government to grant special economic status to airports and seaports in order to stimulate international investment, re-shore manufacturing and ultimately lower prices for consumers after Brexit. Port Zones UK is a new coalition of British airport and seaport operators with the aim of promoting regional growth centered on major UK transportation hubs through its proposed designation of enhanced ‘Enterprise, Development and Free Trade Zones’. The coalition’s founding members include the British Ports Association (BPA), Regional and City Airports (RCA), the Port of Milford Haven, the Port of Tyne and the Institute for Exports.
The UK Government is planning to create up to ten free ports after Brexit in order to allow companies to import goods and then re-export them outside normal tax and customs rules. However, the newly launched Port Zones UK has published a report ‘A Licence to Operate: ‘Enterprise, Development and Free Trade Zones’, looking in more detail at the potential policy measures needed to make a success of such a program, which states that the UK’s imminent departure from the EU” has created a fresh impetus for a new and innovative growth-generating policy in regional and coastal communities”. It says that business conditions need to be created that increase the flow of foreign direct investment, which is central to future success. Specifically, Port Zones UK says that the UK Government needs to focus on speeding up the process and granting of planning permissions for development; ensuring that the marine and terrestrial planning systems relating to ports are closely co-ordinated to expedite marine licenses; and reducing delays arising from environmental legislation and environmental impact assessments.