Canada is the only G-8 country without Special Economic Zones, or SEZs. Rather surprising when one considers the vastness and diversity of the country.

Zone-ability: Unlocking the Potential of the Atlantica Region with Special Economic Zones examines SEZs around the globe, looking at what works and what doesn’t.

SEZs offer a way to improve competitiveness and generate benefits from the flow of trade through a region. Such zones come in various shapes, sizes, and labels, such as free trade zones or export processing zones, but they share a set of common features.

An SEZ is a defined space where laws and regulations, especially those related to trade, are more liberal than in the rest of a country. Typically, the territory set aside as an SEZ is considered outside a country’s customs regime. This makes the area more attractive for trade activities, since those operating in the zone avoid burdensome tariffs, excise taxes, and usually value-added taxes, such as the goods and services tax (GST). Often, within such zones, different levels of government are combined in a single administration, further reducing red tape and, therefore, costs, and improving the competitive advantage of operating inside the zone.

Zone-ability travels the globe to review how SEZs have worked in other jurisdictions. It concludes that SEZs would help this region and in particular the Port of Halifax, which would then help drive the economy in other parts of Atlantica. The paper suggests that now is the time to act, and that not to seize the opportunity, is to waste the potential.

To read the complete paper, click here.