‘Freezone 2.0’ represents the next ‘version’ of freezones, primarily shaped by advancements in digital technology. Despite the slowdown in globalization (or as the Economist magazine put it, ‘Slowbalization’), technology will continue to play a key role in new and existing trade flows, global value chain transactions and the direct operations of economic zones.
Technological advancements such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Big Data, FinTec, CyberSecurity, Cryptocurrencies and Robotics will all, in some shape or form, play a role in the continuous evolution of freezones around the globe. For example, Blockchain, supported by other digital technologies such as Big Data, is already playing a key role in improving the transparency of cross-company and cross-border transactions.
Indeed, such disruptive technologies can be leveraged positively by key freezone stakeholders to overcome trust issues between trading partners and trading nations (e.g. China-US trade dispute).