The announcement of Liverpool City Region as one of the chosen areas for a Free Port comes with the promise of opportunity, trade and jobs. But what does it really mean for businesses in the region and for the wider UK?
On one side of the argument is the suggestion that these areas – which sit outside of the UK’s main tax and tariff rules – will attract investment and business to the UK in a post-Brexit world.
On the other side is the fear that those exact same freedoms which will attract investment might simultaneously create a situation where Freeports could become a ‘Trojan Horse’ to water down employment protections bound into UK law.
So are Free Ports the start of a new footloose, entrepreneurial world of deal making or the return of the wild west where workers always come out on the bottom?