Freeports – what are they and can you leverage their advantages?
What do you know about Freeports? Ever heard of one? I’ll bet you have. I’ve visited at least one. I unknowingly visited a Freeport in Shannon, Ireland every time I redeployed back to the United States from my multiple combat tours of duty in Ramadi and Fallujah, Iraq. It was awesome to deplane during refueling for the last leg of the trip back home to the United States and be afforded the opportunity to experience an ice cold, and fresh from the brewery, Guinness draft beer for the first time in more than 12 months of our combat deployment. There was also an expansive duty and tax free shopping mall. But putting that aside and getting back to the point, Shannon, Ireland happens to be a successful example of what a Freeport can be.
Freeports or zones are designated by the regional/local government as areas with little to no tax liability in order to encourage economic activity. While located geographically within a country, they essentially exist outside its borders for tax purposes. And if manufacturing is involved or combined, multiple tax benefits can accrue.
So if you lift the hood and dig a little deeper, there appears to be great potential for economic development and expansion with the Freeport/free economic zone concept. It works well if designed and run well, but there have been hiccups in the past when things weren’t well orchestrated. As we say in the military, success is all about execution and leadership. The wrong combination of either will obviously negatively impact any initiative.
Are you aware of and prepared to take advantage of these potential opportunities?