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The Free Ports Opportunity

Brexit provides a new trade opportunity for Britain: the creation of Free Ports.

EU law has long held back the potential of British ports. In The Free Ports Opportunity (a new report published by the Centre for Policy Studies on Monday 14 November), Rishi Sunak MP shows how Brexit would bring an end to this, allowing the introduction of Free Ports across the nation.
Already successful in the USA, Free Ports would provide a fast response to Brexit that would increase manufacturing outputreinvigorate the North, and promote trade.
Free Ports are areas that, although inside the geographic boundary of a country, are considered outside the country for customs purposes. This means that goods can enter and re-exit the port without incurring usual import procedures or tariffs – incentivising domestic manufacturing. 

  • Free Ports could create more 86,000 jobs for the British economy if they were as successful as those in the United States.
  • Free Port jobs would mainly be created in areas outside London where economic need is higher. Of the UK’s 30 largest ports, 17 are in the bottom quartile of Local Authorities when ranked by the ONS’ Index of Multiple Deprivation and three quarters are in ‘below average’ Local Authorities.
  • Leaving the EU will enable Britain to capitalise on the Free Port opportunity. Today, the EU Customs Union and EU State Aid laws make this almost impossible.
  • Free Ports have a broad appeal that could command bipartisan support, allowing the policy to act as a rapid response to Brexit.
  • Free Ports policy is fundamentally simple and is supported by a wealth of international precedent – making implementation possible over a short timescale.
  • Ports are already a vital strategic asset for the UK economy, accounting for 96% of all trade volume and 75% of trade value.
  • Free Ports programme would build on an existing UK strength and reconnect us with our proud maritime history: Britain’s port infrastructure is world class, and the UK ports sector is already the second largest in Europe.

Rishi Sunak MP comments:

“Upon leaving the EU, Britain will find itself with more opportunities for economic innovation than at any time in almost 50 years. As the date of our departure draws closer, it will be the responsibility of Government to ensure Britain is not timid in seizing those opportunities.

Foreign Trade Zones are flourishing all around the world – except in the EU. Post-Brexit they could play an important role in signalling Britain’s openness to the world, as well as reconnecting the nation with its proud maritime history.”
James Cooper, Chief Executive, Associated British Ports (the UK’s largest port owner) comments:
“Ports are key to the nation’s trade and many offer ideal locations for new manufacturing. They should be front and centre of an industrial strategy to boost exports and re-balance the economy.”
“This report is an example of the creative and ambitious thinking that should underpin such a strategy, maximising the potential of our ports to promote export-led growth and helping forge a prosperous future post-Brexit.”

Click here to read the full report.

Media Impact

When it comes to seeking advice about Britain's economic feature after Brexit, it’s probably fair to say that Greece wouldn’t be most people’s first call.

THERESA MAY has been urged to create “free ports” across Brexit Britain in a bid to create nearly 90,000 jobs and boost trade links with the rest of the world.

In a Centre for Policy Studies report, The Free Ports Opportunity, Richmond MP Rishi Sunak argues Britain’s membership of the EU has held back growth and that the creation of “free ports” would be a huge opportunity for trade.

BRITAIN'S prosperity after leaving the European Union will depend to a degree on innovative thinking, and the proposal to create free ports is one such idea worthy of serious attention.

Britain could create 86,000 jobs, reinvigorate manufacturing and navigate the choppy waters of Brexit better if it operated a system of US-style “free ports”, a study suggests

The research, by the Centre for Policy Studies and MP Rishi Sunak, argues that EU law has held back the potential of UK sea trade. It says getting rid of these laws would allow the Government to create 'free ports'.

The potential of British ports could be unleashed in the aftermath of Brexit, if the UK quits the EU customs union, according to a new report.

To counter the trade shock following Brexit, Tory MP Rishi Sunak and Associated British Ports, the UK’s largest port operator, called for free foreign trade zones to stimulate trade once the UK is not constrained by the Customs Union and EU state aid laws.

The concept of Free Ports is thousands of years old (with Delos in Ancient Greece having originally pioneered the concept). Today they prosper all around the world.

In a paper by the Centre for Policy studies, Conservative MP Rishi Sunak writes that Britain could boost trade by adopting a policy of creating free ports.

Britain’s exit from the European Union could open up increased trade for the nation’s ports and create 

jobs, according to a new report. The research, by the Centre for Policy Studies and MP Rishi Sunak, argues that EU law has held back 

BREXIT gives Britain the opportunity of a massive expansion of manufacturing






Rishi Sunak MP - Monday 14th November 2016