THE Welsh UK governments have reached an agreement on the establishment of freeports in Wales.

Welsh ministers have agreed to support freeport policies in Wales, following the UK Government’s agreement to meet the Welsh Government’s demands that UK ministers provide at least £26 million of non-repayable starter funding for any freeport established in Wales.

This represents a parity with the deals offered to English freeports.

The UK Government has agreed to meet a number of other demands – including that both governments will act on the basis of a ‘partnership of equals’ to deliver any freeports in Wales.

In addition, both governments have agreed a freeport will only be implemented if it can be demonstrated clearly it will operate in a manner that aligns with the Welsh Government’s policies on fair work and environmental sustainability, including the commitment to Wales becoming a net-zero carbon nation.

Economy minister, Vaughan Gething said: “The agreement we have reached is fair to Wales.

“However, we have made it clear to the UK Government that a freeport will only be implemented if it can be demonstrated that it will support our fair work agenda and deliver long-term, sustainable benefits and value for money.

“I very much hope that the UK Government’s willingness to work with the Welsh government as equals can provide a positive model for future co-operation.”

The UK Government’s secretary of state for levelling-up, housing and communities, Michael Gove said: “I am delighted that Wales is the latest area in the UK set to benefit from a new freeport.

“The UK government’s ambitious freeports agenda will help to level up our coastal communities and create new opportunities for people right across the country.”

What is a freeport?

Freeports are intended to stimulate economic activity in areas around shipping or airports into which goods are imported.

Goods brought into freeports are exempt from tariffs usually paid by the importer on arrival - meaning foreign exporters are incentivised to use them.

Businesses based within freeports are also given tax incentives.