UKBS Responds to Freeports Call for Evidence

UK Blue Shield Responded to the UK Government Call for Evidence regarding its proposal to create Freeports in the UK.

Read the Submission here:

Executive Summary

There are demonstrable links between Freeports and illicit trafficking of cultural property (CP) with many countries increasing Freeport regulation. The UK Government has committed to CP protection and the prevention of illicit trafficking of CP (see 3.3Error! Reference source not found.); internationally, the opening of Freeports in the UK may be perceived as contradictory to those commitments. In particular, if the UK departs from the EU’s more stringent measures to combat illicit trafficking of CP, the UK could be seen as a “haven” in which to store illicit CP if UK Freeports have significantly lower requirements. (EU measures include new EU Cultural Property Import Regulations 2019 which create an electronic import licensing system for CP coming into the EU, require export licences for at risk CP, and import declarations otherwise).

As the UK’s Freeport proposals go against the trend of other countries, the UK must ensure it can demonstrate robust measures are in place to prevent illicit trafficking of CP (including that below the £10,000 threshold, which is still a significant contributor to organised crime) and that it has learned from the mistakes of other Freeports around the world. In this Evidence and Annexes, we aim to:

  • identify the risks Freeports pose to combating illicit trafficking of CP and organised crime;
  • highlight additional evidence in recent reports;
  • identify the relevant international commitments and legislation which the UK must comply with;
  • provide a case study of the Geneva Freeport as a “Lesson Learned”; and
  • conclude with Recommendations to enable the UK to mitigate these significant risks.

Read more about the Consultation on the UK Government website

Read the Response to the Consultation on the UK Government Website