The government recently closed the application period for Freeport status with 30 bidders thought to have submitted proposals.
Companies using Freeports will be able to import goods without paying tariffs, process them into a final good and then either pay a tariff on goods sold into the domestic market, or export the final goods without paying UK tariffs.
Areas given Freeport status will also benefit from a wide package of tax reliefs, including on purchasing land, constructing or renovating buildings, investing in new plant and machinery assets and on Employer National Insurance Contributions.
In total, the government intends to create 10 Freeports. The scheme comes following the country's exit from the European Union and as the government looks to create new trade links.
The East Midlands bid for Freeport status was submitted by a consortium led by the two local enterprise partnerships, including East Midlands Airport. The proposition is based around the East Midlands Airport Gateway Industrial Cluster as well as two other industrial sites in the region, reports London's Air Cargo News.
Clare James, East Midlands Airport's managing director, said: 'We're delighted to be part of a regional Freeport bid that, if successful, could create thousands of jobs for local people. East Midlands Airport (EMA) is a key regional and national gateway for Britain's exports and imports.'
Heathrow Airport said Freeport status will allow businesses, customers and supply chains to capitalise on international connections and routes, whilst reducing administrative burdens and controls.
It points out that in 2019 per cent of UK cargo by value came through the airport and that 75 per cent of all the country's long-haul connections are from the airport.
'Our vision is that the UK - and its businesses - should be as well connected to cities in India and China as it is today with the US - with multiple, daily, year-round flights to a long list of cities across these countries complementing a wide range of other global routes,' said Nigel Milton, director of communications, Heathrow Airport, in a letter to government to support its application, supported by several business groups.
'This vision is delivered by utilising our unique long-haul network, supported by guaranteed domestic connections into Heathrow from regional airports and all aligned with potential Freeport sites in Teesside, Belfast, Inverness, and Newquay. A joined-up approach would allow the whole of the UK to connect direct to global growth opportunities and help deliver on the Government's commitment to levelling up the UK.'