The free-port zone of Santa Cruz de Tenerife received in 2006 the approval of the customs and special taxes department to operate as set out in an October 13th resolution published in the official bulletin of the state (BOE) of October 30th. The resolution issued by the said department of the national fiscal administration agency enforces the interior regime regulation of the management and commercialisation of the free-port zone, and enables its activation.

The process begun by the port authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in March 2001 with the aim of providing a new boost to the economy of the city's port had thereby been completed. Given its location at a crossroads of maritime communication and its geographically strategic position, it will be equipped with the best conditions to bolster foreign trade activities, on a level comparable with other leading port installations.

It was on the said date that the management board of the port authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife authorised the launch of the process of defining the free-port zone within the port area of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The document was constantly monitored by the authority, resulting in the signing in 2002 of a collaboration agreement with Sociedad de Fomento e Inversiones de Tenerife S.A. (Sofitesa) to ensure constant awareness of the details of this process.

Following these procedures, it will be in 2007 that the bodies involved will designate their representatives in the Consortium that will manage the Santa Cruz de Tenerife free-port zone, and which will comprise a president, a vice-president and a number of board members representing the ministry of the economy and revenues, the regional government, the port authority, the city council of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island council, the chambers of commerce, industry and shipping, and the province's business confederation. Once these have been designated, a first plenary meeting will be called.

The management and commercial exploitation of the zone will be regulated by the statutes of the Consortium and the provisions of the Reglamento de Régimen Interior, comprising five chapters which specify, among other things, the procedures that apply to the installations, the movement of goods, the identification of personnel using the zone and tariffs.

The statutes of the free-port zone of the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife were published in the official bulletin (BOE) of August 10th 2006, after undergoing the relevant process for establishing the zone, as set out in the ministerial order published in the BOE of January 28th 2006.

Presentation. The main characteristics of the Tenerife free-port zone were presented by the president of the province's port authority, Luis Suárez Trenor; the president of the island council of Tenerife, Ricardo Melchior; the central government's representative in the Canaries, José Segura; the managing director of Sociedad de Desarrollo de Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Emilio Atienzar; and the deputy regional minister for the economy and EU economic affairs, Javier González Ortiz, during a dedicated event held at Sofitesa's headquarters in the island capital.

The free-port zone of the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is an open, type-2 control zone for the storage, transformation and distribution of goods, which will occupy the entire port installation and will be an ideal complement to the Canaries Logistics Platform. It will eventually be extendable to the port of Granadilla.

With its implantation, the goods that enter the said ports will be considered outside of European Community territory, enabling the companies located within the zone to benefit from tax exemptions or deferrals, and be able to use the installations as storage or for perfecting operations.

The companies based in the zone will be eligible to enjoy the benefits of the economic and fiscal regime (REF) of the Canaries. The potential benefits include registering under the Canaries investment reserve (RIC) or to become ZEC companies. They also remain exempt from the payment of the IAJD and IGIC duties – ie VAT on investment assets.

the other hand, it must be noted that the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife already has an area classified as the Canarian Special Zone (ZEC), within which industries will be able to enjoy the benefits and synergies of the free-port zone and the ZEC. The firms already installed there will also b able to enjoy the advantages of being located within a free-port zone.

This new free-port zone will provide an ideal complement to the Intercontinental Logistics Platform in the Atlantic, as a useful tool for reactivating and promoting economic growth on the island of Tenerife.