Calls for Welsh ports to get free port status
Calls have been made for ports in Wales to be given free port status following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Those who have offered positive views about free ports include Port of Milford Haven chief executive Alec Don and Cardiff University logistics and transport expert Dr Andrew Potter, with the concept being brought up in evidence to an assembly committee's inquiry into the effect of Brexit on ports.
The Welsh Government’s cabinet secretary for economy and infrastructure Ken Skates has said the idea is worth exploring, while the Welsh Government has said that though the matter is not devolved, the body has “an open mind” on the possibility of free trade zones after the UK’s EU-departure.
A spokesperson said: “We welcome ideas from industry on how free trading zones could work in practice in Wales and stand ready to raise this issue with the UK government further down the line.”
The UK government stated that it was looking for arrangements to maximise trading opportunities for companies.
A spokesperson explained: “We will continue to engage with industry and will carefully consider the best way to deliver the greatest economic advantage to the UK.”
It is hoped that awarding Welsh ports free port status would attract more international commerce into ports and inspire manufacturing.
Free ports, despite being inside a country’s geographical boundary, are viewed as outside of the nation for the purposes of customs, with the facilities taking away customs duties.
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