House of Commons Library

The establishment of free ports in the UK

Published Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A debate on the establishment of free ports in the UK will take place in Westminster Hall on Thursday 11 October 2018 at 1:30pm. This paper provides a brief overview of the subject, recent parliamentary material, press articles and further reading.

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  • Free ports are generally understood to be designated areas inside a country geographically, but outside of that country’s established customs area, allowing manufacturing, warehousing and trade outside of the host country’s standard tariffs and export/import procedures. 
  • There are estimated to be 3,500 free ports in the world, employing 66 million people.
  • There are no free ports in the UK, though there is one on the Isle of Man. 
  • Seven free ports operated in the UK at various points between 1984 and 2012; the remaining five closed in 2012.


Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0211

Author: Matthew Ward

Topic: International trade

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