Freeports provide special freedoms to trade, within a specific area around a major port. Freeport status supports the expansion of international trade by offering exemptions from certain operational, regulatory and customs requirements.
In early 2019, the Mayor submitted a policy paper to Government championing a Freeport in Tees Valley, building on the recommendations of a 2016 policy paper by now Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP, forming part of a campaign which launched in 2018 and was backed by more than 50 leading employers in the area.
The paper found a Freeport on the River Tees could create tens of thousands of jobs and add billions to the regional economy.
The consultation came following last year’s visit to the region by Liz Truss MP, then Secretary of State for International Trade, when she announced that a Freeports Commission would be established by Government to look at creating up to ten such zones across the UK.
In May 2020, Mayor Houchen took another step forward in securing a Freeport for the region with the finalisation of a submission to the Government’s consultation on Freeports. The formal response, covering customs, tax, planning, regeneration and policy considerations, makes the case for such a zone in the region, and Mayor Houchen continues to work with councils, stakeholders and businesses to lay out the benefits a Freeport would bring to Tees Valley.
The consultation submission was backed unanimously by the Combined Authority Cabinet.
In November the Government launched its Freeports bidding prospectus, inviting regions throughout the UK to make their case to play host to these economically competitive zones.
In February 2021 the Mayor and Combined Authority submitted a bid to become a Freeport and in March 2021 it was announced that we had been successful. The Teesside Freeport was then launched in November 2021, covering all of the five local authority areas, but with Teesworks at its heart.
Companies and other organisations seeking to engage with the Mayor and Combined Authority regarding the Teesside Freeport bid should email: [email protected].
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