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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have declared that eight new English freeports – announced in the Budget – will be a “transformational” benefit from Brexit.
But officials disclosed on Sunday that recent post-Brexit trade agreements with 23 different countries included clauses that specifically prohibit manufacturers in freeport-type zones from benefiting from the deals …
Typically, freeports are set up to allow companies to receive components and ingredients from abroad without paying any duties – including tariffs, VAT or excise duties – through a process known as “duty drawback”.
But businesses in freeports that enjoy those advantages will be obliged to pay tariffs when exporting finished products to any of the 23 countries in question, unlike companies elsewhere in the country.
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