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What is the ZES

21 March 2022
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Tempo di lettura: 5 minuti

ZES SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE - In various Countries of the world the ZES are used for years, some have even almost "institutionalized" such instrument, extending it to great part of the national territory. But what exactly is the ZES?

ZES: Special Economic Zone

The ZES (Special Economic Zone) is in fact a "weapon" in order to be able to entice enterprises to invest in a territory offering fiscal incentives, bureaucratic facilitations and in order to attenuate the cost of the job. To all this must be added the proximity and availability of an efficient and effective infrastructure system located in the immediate vicinity. Generally an airport, a port, with railways and roads within easy reach.

With Law L.12 August 2017 n.123 is introduced in Italy for all the ports of the South. But once the law has been made little has been done (indeed I would say nothing) to encourage and stimulate the creation and the birth of these Zones that could attract a lot of national and international investments. Apart from the issue of tax savings for businesses, we think only of Italy’s position in the Mediterranean.

For example the ZES interests 14 of the 550 municipalities of the Campania and the interested surfaces are extended in prevailing measure in the retroportuali zones of Naples and Salerno, in order to be projected punctually in the more internal truths like Marcianise, Nola and Acerra.

We understand the operation of the SEZ

In order to understand well the operation of the ZES we see to example as they are structured the ZES to Rotterdam and Tangier.


The Harbour Authority of Rotterdam covers the role of precursor. Draft of portxl, an incubator of innovative start-ups with a program of activity centralized specifically on the port and the industries connected to the Dutch harbour port of call. The new incubator aims to research new companies in the fields of transport and logistics, energy, chemistry, refining and maritime transport. With portxl you can discover start-ups and connect them with leading companies by introducing them into a vast network of industry experts. With this plan the port can attract a greater number of innovative activities in the region and to show what it has to offer.

the strategy adopted from the port of Rotterdam delineates a new distance of increase of the port of call, not more seen like mere infrastructure, but like fulcrum of economic activities, not only of logistic type and trasportistico, but that project the country towards new goals of innovation and "smart". The first 10 years are paid very low direct taxes.


It is located in a strategic position 14 km from Spain and on the way between Asia, Europe and America; it is surrounded by a free zone of industrial and logistic activities. Tanger Med is not only port: it is a logistic and industrial platform of intercontinental level entirely managed from the Tanger Med special Agency (TMSA).

Tanger Med is also a Large Industrial Platform (GIP) that includes:

-a logistics free zone (MedHub) providing for tax and customs advantages. In 2016 after Adidas and 3M also Decathlon decided to settle here occupying an area of over 20 thousand square meters of warehouses, which will make the logistics center of Decathlon in Tangier the second largest in the world, after that of Singapore, handling all goods destined for the Asian markets;

-an industrial free zone (Tanger Free Zone), an export-oriented multipurpose free zone with 650 companies and 50000 workers;

-a platform dedicated to the automotive sector (Tanger Automotive City) that includes the industrial complex "Renault-Nissan", one of the most important investments in the Mediterranean, that it manages also the Terminal vehicles of the port. There are also a hundred international suppliers (Denso, Leoni, Delphi, Sumitomo etc.), which make Morocco the largest manufacturer of vehicles in the MENA region.

There is also an area dedicated to offshoring activities (Tetouan Shore) which is an outsourcing of call center services and which represents a call to European nearshoring with an area of 28 hectares, a total investment of 120 million euros and the creation of a total of 12 thousand jobs.

Customs procedures

Tanger Med provides special customs, administrative and social procedures:

  • exemption from registration and stamp duties for the increase or injection of capital and acquisitions of land;
  • exemption from patent tax and urban tax for 15 years;
  • exemption of corporate income tax for 5 years and, after that, reduced rate to 8.75% up to 20% year;
  • tax exemption on equity products, shares and similar income and on the repatriation of capital;
  • goods entering the area, as well as services rendered by the territory, are exempt from VAT;
  • for certain sectors, the State, through the Hassan II Fund, may grant financial aid for the purchase of land and/or the construction of production units. This concession reaches up to 100% of the price of the land based on a maximum cost of 250 DH/sqm. This aid shall be granted within a period not exceeding 60 days following the submission of the supporting documents;
  • The social security treatment for recruitment and employment contracts allows a significant reduction in labour costs.

The entrepreneurial establishment is also facilitated by the presence of new infrastructures, ample spaces for working the goods and efficient road, railway and airport connections.

The ZES - Special Economic Zone of Italy

In ITALY here is the rule: Tax benefit provided by art.5 of L.12 August 2017 n.123.

Tax credit

Art.5 co.2

In relation to the investments carried out in the ZES, the tax credit referred to in article 1, paragraphs 98 and following, of law 28 December 2015 n. 208, is proportionate to the share of the total cost of the assets acquired by 31 December 2020 in the maximum limit, for each investment project, EUR 50 million. The provisions referred to in the same article 1, paragraphs 98 and following, of Law No. 208 of 28 December 2015 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

The benefiting enterprises must maintain their activity in the area ZES for at least seven years after the completion of the investment object of the facilitations, penalty the revocation of the granted benefits and enjoyed.

The recipient undertakings must not be in a state of liquidation or winding up.

Additional constraints to be expected

The recognition of tax advantages is subject to the following limitations:

  • at least 90 per cent of the company’s staff must be recruited in the territory in which the SEZ is established;
  • the total tax benefit Irap is recognized to every enterprise in the limits quota of the total cost of the assets object of investment or, in the case of the tax credit to the quota of the total cost of the assets object of investment like from art.5 L. 3 August 2017 n.123.

From the customs point of view, the advantages for businesses consist in the speeding up of procedures and in the customs facilities of a suspensive nature concerning, for example, duties and VAT.

Further reflection

We must point out that nothing concrete has yet been done to make this law operational in Italy and then as usual we are knotted on convoluted and difficult rules!

BUT WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WRITE LIKE THE OTHERS : FOR TEN YEARS YOU PAY REDUCED TAXES IF YOU INVEST IN THESE AREAS AND IF YOU BRING TECHNOLOGICAL AND INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENTS (WHY THE TAX CREDIT)? Why do we always have to create the jungle of interpretations and knots? We saw Rotterdam (Holland) and Tanger… But what does it take?


Think Tanger in the middle of the desert what she managed to do; but imagine in ITALY THAT INDUCED OUTSIDE THERE WOULD BE AROUND THE ZE!!!

READ ALSO --> Less taxes, but for all: the liberal revolution in the fiscal manifesto

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