US’ China cargo hub awaits tax package

DEVELOPERS behind the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, destined to become the US’ Chinese cargo hub, are holding their breath for a crucial tax break that would green light the project.

The US$480 million ‘aerotropolis’ tax credit programme is vital to landing flights from China and building a hub, developers say. If approved, the programme would lower the cost of flying goods out of the airport and give tax breaks to companies engaging in foreign trade in the region. It would also subsidise the construction of 27.6 million sq ft of cargo, factory and warehouse space.

The legislation would establish $60 million in tax breaks for freight forwarders. To get forwarders to move those parts through Lambert instead of a busier airport, such as Chicago O’Hare, the bill would offer a break worth 25 cents per kilogram, or 30 cents for perishable items, such as food. Only exports would qualify.

In April, China Cargo Airlines (pictured) sent a letter to the mayor of St. Louis, Francis Slay, saying it would be very difficult or even inconceivable to open an air route without the incentives. The bill still needs the approval of the Missouri Senate, whose Republican legislators are averse to any new tax credit programmes.

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