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Rishi Sunak said bidding for freeport status will open soon and the first wave will be up and running in late 2021. The project will help to drive Britain’s economic growth after Brexit transition arrangements end this year, he said.
Mr Sunak said: “Our new freeports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK and supporting jobs.
“They will attract investment from around the world as we embrace new opportunities following our departure from the EU and will be a key driver for economic recovery as we build back better post coronavirus.”
Experts estimate freeports could create 150,000 jobs and generate billions.
The special customs zones allow goods to be imported, stored, and exported without tariffs being imposed.
Parts can be processed into new products in the free trading zones, which supporters say would boost manufacturing jobs and other types of employment locally.
Charges are only imposed if the goods are put into the domestic market.
The first freeports will be opened in England but talks are underway with the devolved administrations about extending them across the UK.
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