Overview of Free Zones in Europe

Free Economic Zones in Europe have established benefits for trade businesses, for investors and businessmen, as they are official zones for tax optimization. These are officially defined plots of land in the EU, where customs duties, including those of the Common Agricultural Policy, are suspended on goods brought into the FZ from outside the EU. VAT, excise taxes are suspended until the goods leave the FZ. If you plan to register a company in the European FZ, note, FEZ can provide a number of important benefits for firms importing goods into the European Union (EU).

To attract companies to the FZ, government agencies offer several of the following incentives:

  • First of all, the registration of a company in the EU FZ gives firms the right to store imported goods on favorable customs terms.
  • Another advantage for starting a business in the Free Zones of the European Union is the differential taxation regime, concerning tax benefits related to corporate or personal income tax and value added tax (VAT).
  • Third, non-tax incentives such as government grants for research and development (R&D) are important to companies.

These advantages are enhanced by the presence of a developed infrastructure. Today, there are more than 80 FZ in the EU. Below is an overview of the European Union FZ. The material will be interesting for entrepreneurs, who wish to register a business in Europe.

Koplik Free Trade Zone (Albania)

It is suitable for registering an Albanian manufacturing company, industrial and agro-processing companies. This zone of economic and technological development is strategically located, it provides links between Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.

Spitalla FZ (Albania)

If you are interested in starting a business in Spitalla FZ (Albania), the following activities are permitted:

  • production;
  • industrial;
  • agro-processing;
  • trading;
  • services.

Linz FZ (Austria)

Registration of an Austrian logistics company or establishment of a trading company in Linz FZ are the preferred options. However, large industrial plants are also developing in Linz.

Read also: Austria

Vienna (Austria)

Vienna is one of the richest regions in the EU. It focuses on creating an enabling environment for R&D. Therefore, it is beneficial to open a company for R&D in the Vienna FZ, to register an IT company in Vienna (Austria).

FZ of the Port of Rijeka (Croatia)

Rijeka FZ offers an advantageous geographical position, a well-developed infrastructure. The port of Rijeka can be used for the production, processing and storage of goods, for registering a banking institution in Croatia or obtaining an insurer’s license in Croatia.

FZ of Le Verdon, France

Le Verdon has trade relations with 300 ports of the world. Registration of an agricultural company in the FZ of Le Verdon or establishment of a French industrial company are beneficial due to the presence of specialized cargo handling terminals.

Speicherstadt, Germany

It is the world's largest warehouse complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering an area of 260,000 sq.

Also in Germany you can open a company in the Freeport of Bremerhaven, Freeport of Cuxhaven, Freeport of Deggendorf, Freeport of Duisburg.

Port of Cork Free Port, Ireland

The Port of Cork is a key seaport in the south of Ireland. Thanks to modern deep-water facilities, it is beneficial to establish a company in the port of Cork for trading operations, for direct sea shipping.

Shannon Free Zone, Ireland

Shannon FEZ is an example of successful functioning and competent management. The presence of a FEZ has increased the investment attractiveness of the Irish economy. Branches of multinational corporations such as Intel, which specialize in electronics and information technology, have been established in the Shannon FEZ.

Currently, the Shannon Airport area produces electrical equipment, drilling rigs, industrial diamonds and consumer goods. Subsequently, it was possible to open a subsidiary in Ireland (Shannon Development), which is engaged in the development of projects in FEZ on orders from various states (in particular, in Asia, Africa and Latin America).

Katowice Special Economic Zone (KSEZ), Poland

If you are interested in starting a business in Poland, consider KSEZ. According to the Financial Times, this is one of the best economic zones in Europe over the past three years. Katowice was founded in Poland to support and promote restructuring processes and job creation in the region. Those, who plan to open a company in Poland in KSEZ have the following benefits:

  • 900 hectares of free building space;
  • plots with all communications (water, electricity, gas, etc.), access roads;
  • class A office premises (rent);
  • lease of retail space and warehouse premises, ready to move in.

The condition for investing in the Katowice Special Economic Zone is obtaining a license to conduct business in KSEZ (Poland).

Łódź Special Economic Zone (Poland)

The Special Economic Zone of Lodz is one of the fastest growing zones in Poland. A wide range of investment sites, tax incentives and professional advice on state aid for investments make Łódź SEZ an ideal place for entrepreneurs, interested in registering an investment company in Poland.

Łódź is open for registration of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Poland. They make up 50% of all companies, collected in this area. Łódź SEZ offers:

  • Investment sites and offices with a small area (interesting for entrepreneurs, who wish to start a business in the IT sector in Poland).
  • Business support.
  • StrefaRozwoYou. The Strefa RozwoYou project is being implemented under the Regional Operational Program 2014-2020. The program is designed to support workers in micro, small and medium enterprises.
  • Startup Spark (this is an innovative support model for registering start-up projects in Poland, the goal of which is to combine the potential of beginners, creative entrepreneurs with the infrastructure, experience and resources of large corporations).
Read also: Poland

Galati Free Trade Zone (GFTZ), Romania

The GFTZ is located in Romania and is an important transit point between the East and Europe, bringing real benefits to investors. This is one of the best places for registering European business and its further development in various industries, import and export, distribution, supply chain, logistics.

If you decide to register a company in the Galati Free Trade Zone, the following business benefits will be available to you:

  • strategic location (with fast and efficient access to consumer markets in Europe and the East);
  • fiscal incentives (transit of goods between free zones is exempt from customs duties).

How can you obtain a business permit in the GFTZ:

  • Land concession (from 10 to 49 years with renewal).
  • Land lease (or lease of storage space for a period of 1 month to 5 years with additional renewal periods).
  • Transit operations (transit and forwarding of goods using the free trade zone regime).

Port of Trieste, Italy

Trieste is a competitive free port, that can handle large ships. It is promising to open a shipbuilding company in Port of Trieste, to register an Italian company for servicing ships.

Venice FZ (VFZ), Italy

VFZ is one of two Italian FZ, recognized by the EU. VFZ plays an important role in facilitating trade with the southern Mediterranean coast. If you are interested in registering a company in Venice FZ in Italy, check out the economic benefits of this SZ:

  • Goods, coming from other countries, can remain within the FZ without time limits, while maintaining their foreign status and, as a result, without paying tax duties.
  • Stored foreign goods can be processed (eg labeled) without the need for a guarantee.

You can also establish a company in Italy in the following FZ: Aosta Valley, Campione d’Italia, Livigno, Livorno.

Freeport of Riga, Latvia

The Freeport of Riga offers tax and customs incentives to make Riga attractive for foreign investment. Entrepreneurs, considering Riga to register a European business, should note, that this FZ has the potential for future growth thanks to new port facilities.

Freeport of Ventspils, Latvia

Since 1997, a special FZ has been operating, which makes it possible for enterprises to receive significant tax benefits and creates favorable conditions for investment.

FDi Intelligence of the British newspaper was named Freeport of Ventspils the best place for registration of small and medium enterprises (SME) in Europe.

The basis for the long-term development in Ventspils is the special regime, tax incentives, more than 700 hectares of free area for the development of industrial projects, the location of the port in the Trans-European transport network, the availability of qualified labor, support of the Free Port.

Kaunas FEZ, Lithuania

This zone offers lower taxes for investors, who invest at least EUR 1 million. They are mainly foreign companies. You can register a pharmaceutical company in Kaunas FEZ, open a Lithuanian high-tech automation company.

Klaipėda FEZ, Lithuania

Klaipeda FEZ is intended for manufacturing enterprises, logistics and business park development. It is available to establish a logistics company in Klaipėda FEZ, to open a business in the food industry, large metal structures, electric vehicles and components.

Read also: Lithuania

Bourgas FZ (BFZ), Bulgaria

Opening a business in Bourgas FZ offers the following benefits for entrepreneurs:

  • ability to handle cargo by sea, road, rail and air;
  • duty-free storage of goods from third countries (outside the EU);
  • saving time on customs procedures;
  • low production costs;
  • advantageous location;
  • qualified personnel.

Please note: initially you need to obtain a license for commercial activities in Bulgaria.

Free zones of Serbia

FZ are viewed by the Serbian government as one of the most effective tools for attracting foreign capital to the country's economy, strengthening its export potential, as well as for targeted stimulation of the development of specific regions.

Currently, there are already 13 territories in Serbia, declared as free zones. Four of them: Pirot, Subotica, Zrenjanin and Novi Sad have the most successful long-term experience of effective functioning. The Kragujevac Free Zone is the concentration of the production facilities of the FIAT carmaker and related companies.

Such world-famous manufacturers as Kolpa, SIMENS, Novadis, Elisa Pro, Dunkermotor, Continental, Panasonic, Draexlmaier located their enterprises in the free zones of Serbia.

Free zones of Spain

Currently, there are 4 FZ in this jurisdiction:

  • Canary Islands;
  • Ceuta and Melilla;
  • Cadiz;
  • Vigo.

In each of these zones, you can register a Spanish company for the construction, textile, manufacturing and automotive industries (respectively).

FEZ in the UK

In the UK there are such FZ:

  • England: Liverpool, Port Shearness (Kent), Port Tilbury (Essex), Southampton.
  • Scotland: Prestwick Airport.

The key UK government agency, responsible for FZ, is HM Revenue&Customs. For those, who plan to set up a company in the UK FZ, the following advantages are open:

  • privileges in relation to customs duties, related to transshipment, handling of goods intended for re-export;
  • simplified customs procedures;
  • cash flow benefits, arising from duty exemptions until the goods are exported;
  • flexibility in determining the final destination of goods.

Closing remark

Free Zones have a positive impact on foreign investment in Europe and doing business in EU member states. To analyze the differences and choose the appropriate option for your business activity, it is advisable to order advice on a company registration in the EU Free Economic Zones. You can contact our team at the contacts, indicated on the website.

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