Emmanuel Macron’s potential rival in the 2022 French presidential election, Xavier Bertrand, has once again called on the president to offer special tax privileges to Calais in a bid to attract clients from mainland Britain after the Brexit transition period. Mr. Bertrand is a former senior member of the Republicans and has close ties to the fishing industry. He is president of the Hauts-de-France region and was Minister of Health under Jacques Chirac and Minister of Labor under Nicolas Sarkozy.
In September, the Minister for Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili dismissed the prospect of a tax-free zone.
However, in a letter, the president of the Hauts-de-France region reminded Mr. Macron of the commitments he made in 2018.
The French president accepted the principle during a trip to Calais in January 2018.
Mr. Bertrand wrote that Ms. Pompili’s statement was “in total contradiction” to what she said.
In an interview with Express.co.uk, government trade adviser Shanker Singham hailed the idea, urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to do the same in Dover.
He said: “What would be a great suggestion is a twin Dover-Calais free trade area.
“It would be a great opportunity, with the Channel Tunnel as a link between them. ”
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In August, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss unveiled a new free port advisory group to advise the government on creating up to ten free ports.
Ports and airports across the country will be able to bid for freeport status and are expected to have a similar effect as given to London’s Docklands in the 1980s.
The government said it would reduce costs and bureaucracy, encouraging manufacturing companies to set up or relocate.
Writing exclusively for the Daily Express in August, Ms Truss said: ‘Free ports transformed London’s Docklands in the 1980s, and free ports will do the same for cities in the UK.
“They will ensure that business and manufacturing are the gateway to our future prosperity, creating thousands of jobs. ”
Institute of Economic Affairs Director of Regulatory Affairs Victoria Hewson expressed support for the plan after Ms Truss’ announcement said, “If done right, free ports can be transformative.
“This announcement sends a strong message that the UK is serious about embracing the freedoms that flow from exiting the customs union and the EU single market.
“We need to make sure this program frees businesses from the burden of bureaucracy and high taxes in a truly creative way; and encourages real investment rather than the diversion of business from other parts of the country. ”