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Free zones are intended to foster economic activity and employment that could occur elsewhere.
An export-processing zone (EPZ) is a specific type of FTZ, set up generally in developing countries by their governments to promote industrial and commercial exports.
A free trade zone is normally established in a single country, although there are a few exceptions where a free zone may cross a national border, such as the Syrian/Jordanian Free Trade Zone.
The rationale is that the zones will attract investment and create employment and thus reduce poverty and unemployment, stimulating the area's economy.
These zones are often used by multinational corporations to set up factories to produce goods (such as clothing, shoes, and electronics).
These continued through at least the first millennium CE.
In the 12th century the Hanseatic League began operating in Northern Europe, and established trading colonies throughout Europe.