Foreign-trade zones help U.S. manufacturers compete

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FTZs are geographic locations near ports of entry, such as airports and marine ports, that are considered outside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection territory. Companies operating within these sites pay duties only on goods if and when they enter the U.S. marketplace.

That means companies can defer, reduce or eliminate duties on imported products when the duty rates on imported materials are higher than the duty rate on the finished product.

Merchandise within these areas can be assembled, cleaned, displayed, destroyed, processed, repackaged, repaired, sampled, stored and tested. In addition, there are no time restraints to how long products can remain in a FTZ.

FTZ No. 20, which is located in localities around the Port of Virginia, is the most active FTZ in Virginia. It includes 17 warehouse/distribution and production locations and 71 firms that use general-purpose sites. The Port of Virginia is the grantee of the zone.

In late 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce approved extending FTZ No. 20 into North Carolina.
Virginia’s four other FTZs include:

FTZ No. 137: The Washington Dulles Foreign-Trade Zone Inc. was created to be the grantee of this FTZ outside of Washington Dulles International Airport. The zone includes Washington, D.C., Alexandria and the counties of Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Frederick and Clarke.

FTZ No. 185: Culpeper County is the grantee of this zone, which was first approved in 1992.

FTZ No. 207: The Capital Region Airport Commission, which operates the Richmond International Airport, is grantee of the zone. The site includes 35 localities in the Central Virginia area. The sites include 2,044 acres around the airport, 211 acres at the Southpoint Business Park in Prince George and 11 acres for on Lewistown Road in Hanover County. Nine West Holdings, a 47-acre usage-driven site, just completed its first year of FTZ operations.

FTZ No. 238 Dublin: New River Valley Economic Development Alliance Inc. is the grantee of the zone, which expands from the New River Valley Airport in Dublin. That encompasses 22 cities and counties in the region.

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