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How business can benefit from Cromarty Firth Green Freeport

By Rachel Smart

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Stuart Wood, Bethan Customs Consultancy.
Stuart Wood, Bethan Customs Consultancy.

A customs consultancy expert has given advice on how local businesses can benefit from the Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

Having successfully won the bid last week, after month's of deliberation, the Green Freeport will give special tax status to businesses within 45km outer boundary of the GreenPort locations says Stuart Wood, account manager of Bethan Customs Consultancy.

He explained: "Special tax status can be awarded to businesses within the 45km outer boundary of the GreenPort location, although this may be waivered in exceptional circumstances.

"There will be a number of designated tax sites within the Green Freeport – anyone within the area can apply for this status, provided that they can demonstrate robust security standards, and the impact their business has on the renewables sector."

Explaining what the benefits will be for businesses in the zone, he added: "Businesses will have the ability to import and store goods without paying duties or completing full customs declarations. What’s more, if the goods are re-exported, there is no requirement to pay duties.

"Green Freeports and Freeports south of the border are all interlinked, so goods can be moved between them by declaration of conduct, while maintaining their tax status."

The Green Freeport has been welcomed by local businesses, but there will be steps that need to be taken in order to reap the maximum benefits from the new Green Freeport status.

"Open the lines of communication as early as possible, and keep them open", said Mr Wood.

"Contacting the Green Freeport authorisation holder should be your first port of call. Additionally, check the geographical parameters – is your business within the catchment area of 45km?

"Does your business meet the requirements for tax site status? You must be linked to the renewables sector, or in some way be involved in the drive towards achieving the Scottish Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2045. You will also need to demonstrate that all IT systems, safety and security are of a sufficiently high standard."

Green Freeports are also inventory linked. This means that businesses will need to have access to a compliant system to operate under the terms of the Green Freeport agreement.

He added: "Safety and security are major components of a successful Green Freeport. Can your company meet the required standards? Companies with Authorised Economic Operator (Safety and Security) (AEO (S)) should readily meet these. "Authorised Economic Operator status is an internationally recognised quality mark that shows your business’s role in the international supply chain is secure and has controls that meet Authorised Economic Operator standards and criteria. It would be worth applying for this if your business doesn’t currently hold one."

Register your interest for becoming a tax site via the online form when this becomes available.

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