THE Government will use a North-East port as a base to announce a new advisory panel to look into the establishment of up to 10 Freeports across the country.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss will be in Teesport today to announce up to ten Freeports will be created after the UK leaves the EU on October 31.

Freeports are hubs for business and enterprise for both manufacturing and services trade. These could be free of unnecessary checks and paperwork, and include customs and tax benefits, with the aim of reducing costs and bureaucracy, encouraging manufacturing businesses to set up or re-shore.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said creating a freeport in Teesport would "turbocharge jobs and growth" in the region, whilst Rishi Sunak, Richmond MP and newly-appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the Government will "focus on those areas that could benefit the most".

The freeports Advisory Panel will include ministers from the Department for International Trade and HM Treasury, as well as a range of experts from different industries.

Mr Houchen said: “Teesport played a crucial role in this nation’s historic trading past, and is key to our great trading future.

“Creating a Freeport right here would turbocharge jobs and growth, bringing investment into the region and making us a global hub of enterprise and innovation.”

Mr Sunak added: “We are exploring freeports as an innovative way to drive growth and support thousands of high-skilled jobs across the UK.

“We will focus on those areas that could benefit the most, as we look to boost investment and opportunity for communities across the country.”

Ms Truss said: “Freedoms transformed London’s Docklands in the 1980s, and Freeports will do the same for towns and cities across the UK. They will onshore enterprise and manufacturing as the gateway to our future prosperity, creating thousands of jobs.

“We will have a truly independent trade policy after we leave the EU on October 31. I look forward to working with the freeports Advisory Panel to create the world's most advanced Freeport model and launch the new ports as soon as possible."

Just weeks before becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson told a Conservative audience in Darlington that he backed Mr Houchen's Freeport policy and Teesside could get a Freeport.

Middlesbrough South and east Cleveland MP Simon Clarke said: “Launching freeports shows Global Britain is open for business, and is brilliant news for our port and our community.

"It’s fantastic that Trade Secretary Liz Truss has chosen Teesside to launch the Freeport policy.  After decades in the shadows, our area is now at the front of the queue for opportunities like this. 

"When Ben Houchen and I first started campaigning for a Freeport two years ago it was a dream - now it’s a reality.  The evidence shows how Freeports stimulate growth and jobs, and I’m confident the team at PD Ports will make a huge success of delivering this.

"Boris Johnson has made it crystal clear we are leaving the EU on 31 October, and this is a classic example of a great project we couldn’t deliver properly as an EU member but will be able to after Brexit. 

"It’s time to crack on over the coming weeks and get this done.”

Jason Millett, chief operating officer for consultancy at Mace, who's 'Supercharged Free Ports' report in 2018 showed that integrating free ports with enterprise zones would add 25,000 jobs and £9bn a year to the Northern economy said: “Mace’s pioneering research kick-started the debate about free ports in the UK and their potential benefits.

"Our polling shows that they are popular across the political spectrum, with 8 in 10 people supporting their creation around the country, and would give a possible economic bonus of £1500 per person in areas they are created.

"They already exist in many countries right around the world and it’s great that the UK now has plans to catch up.

"I look forward to hearing more about the Government’s proposals and locations selected over the next few months and hope that they decided to 'supercharge' them by combining them with enterprise zones which is the recommendation our report put forward.”