As post-Brexit talks continue after negotiators fail to reach an agreement, local businesses back the region's Freeport bid.
Key employers from across the Sheffield City Region met last week at a roundtable to discuss the Freeport bid for Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
Business sentiment is largely positive and in support of the bid for Doncaster Sheffield Airport to be home to one of the seven Freeports, which would support the Government’s own key objective of “levelling up”.
Andy Morley, Group Managing Director at ProAktive said, “The Freeport concept has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits to Doncaster and the wider Sheffield City Region.
“Much detail needs to be resolved but with such strategic assets as the iPort, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, a high-quality and diverse education sector and the advanced manufacturing area we are fantastically well placed to make this a success. I would encourage our local business to investigate the benefits and support the Freeport bid.”
Freeports, designated as areas with little to no tax in order to encourage economic activity, are a key part of the Government's post-Brexit plans.
Whitehall sources reportedly state that it is increasingly likely that the UK will emerge from the transition period without a free trade agreement. Tariffs could therefore be introduced on goods being sold and bought, potentially affecting product prices.
Being a customs-free zone means that goods entering a Freeport would attract no tariffs and may also face lower non-tariff barriers such as simpler customs procedures.
Intermediate goods could be manufactured within the Freeport and be either re-exported where no tariff would apply, or be imported into the UK as a ‘finished’ good and face a lower tariff rate.
Adrian Platts, International Trade and Business Support Manager at Doncaster Chamber said, “Brexit will create challenges for some businesses and opportunities for others. Similarly, there will be risk and reward for towns and cities too, including those that – like Doncaster – are susceptible to large economic shocks.”
The team at Doncaster Chamber of Commerce firmly believe that it makes sense for the Government to use its Freeports policy to invest in places like Doncaster, to mitigate the economic shocks, honour the levelling up agenda and to ensure that the area is well equipped to maximise any opportunities created by Brexit.
Mr Platts concluded, “The Government’s Freeports strategy will be key to helping importers, exporters and indeed regions benefit from the UK’s new trading relationship with Europe and the rest of the world.
“Making a decision to locate a Freeport in Doncaster would be a sign that Government is not just committed to delivering its levelling up agenda, but also committed to supporting businesses – in places like Doncaster – to succeed in a post-Brexit landscape.”