Freeport partnership signed to attract inward investment

Two major players in the East Midlands have joined together to attract foreign investors to the region.

The East Midlands Chamber, the UK’s largest chamber of commerce, and the East Midlands Freeport have formed a partnership, aiming to capitalise on the economic advantages of having the UK’s sole inland freeport in the area.

By offering tax and customs benefits across designated sites in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire, the freeport seeks to entice foreign direct investment.

This investment is expected to generate employment and improve skills in sectors like advanced manufacturing, automotive, and logistics.

The partnership involves working together to attract inward investment while the Chamber will aid the freeport in identifying potential customs site operators among local businesses.

Any enterprise operating within the freeport’s designated zone, encompassing a 45km radius centred on East Midlands Airport, is eligible to apply for customs site operator status, thereby unlocking various VAT and duty benefits.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “We were one of the biggest supporters during the freeport’s formation, having called for a free trade zone around East Midlands Airport to maximise the potential of having the UK’s busiest pure freight airport on our doorstep as far back as 2018 in our Business Manifesto for Growth.

“It’s exciting to see the freeport now fully operational, and this strategic partnership is a major milestone in getting the word out to both businesses in our region that can benefit as customs site operators and to those overseas about why the East Midlands is a great place to invest and do business.”

East Midlands Freeport chief executive Tom Newman-Taylor said: “We’re very pleased to be able to announce our strategic partnership with East Midlands Chamber. The Chamber will perform a vital supporting role for the Freeport by helping to identify and contact businesses who will benefit from the customs reliefs we can provide, lend us their investment expertise and help to raise our profile with their 4,000 members.”

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