Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Trade Zones’


New Foreign Trade Zone Regulations Help U.S. Firms Compete

March 6, 2012

Andrew McGilvray is the staff director for the Foreign-Trade Zones Board, an interagency board chaired by the Commerce Department. He has been with the International Trade Administration since 1988.

On February 17, the White House and the International Trade Administration announced new regulations for the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) program. This first overhaul of FTZ procedures in more than 20 years is designed to enable the program to keep pace with businesses and their decision-making processes.

Since use of a FTZ can reduce the cost of U.S. operations, fast and simple access to the program can encourage investment in U.S. facilities. The new procedures accelerate and simplify the application procedures, and promise to further facilitate U.S. companies’ use of the program to help them compete internationally.

FTZs are designated locations in the United States where companies can use special customs procedures that help encourage U.S. activity and value added – in competition with foreign alternatives – by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise, as well as other savings. Several thousand companies already use the FTZ program, helping to support more than 300,000 jobs and about $30 billion in exports each year.

For example, the Mercury Marine factory in Wisconsin operates under FTZ procedures, employing more than 2,400 American workers and exporting about $125 million in finished marine engines each year.

The new regulations’ procedures will now make it much quicker and simpler for individual companies to access the FTZ program – like Mercury Marine did starting in 1999. Dramatically reducing costs and timeframes for access is likely to make the FTZ program an even more crucial tool for U.S. companies and workers to compete in the global marketplace.

To find a FTZ in your state, visit the Foreign Trade Zone Board web site.


Border Export Strategy Impact in El Paso

March 24, 2011

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Today I was in El Paso, Texas with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Alan Bersin, Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to highlight the importance of trade, border security, and the Border Export Strategy.

The International Trade Administration recently launched the Border Export Strategy (BES), which is a priority component of the National Export Initiative, which seeks to double exports from the U.S. by 2015 to support several million jobs.

The City of El Paso is an important gateway between the United States and Mexico, and total merchandise trade that passed through the El Paso district in 2010 amounted to $71.1 billion. More than 80 percent of this trade passed through the port of El Paso.

This strategy is designed to increase the export potential and opportunities for U.S. companies doing business along the shared Canadian and Mexican borders.

We are striving to enhance local public-private trade collaboration and support efforts to reduce trade barriers limiting secure and efficient commerce across our borders.

Despite security challenges in the border region, NAFTA trade statistics show a 29 percent increase in total trade between the U.S. and Mexico from 2009-2010. In addition to close collaboration on security and infrastructure issues in the interagency process, the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security are working together to identify other potential areas for collaboration on U.S. exports. Potential areas include issues related to the Foreign Trade Zones, a review of the targeting efforts for goods and travelers, and technical assistance to other countries in the world, where customs operations are problematic for exporters and need to be modernized.

The City of El Paso sponsors a foreign-trade zone (FTZ) that is currently used by 19 different companies. In 2010, the El Paso FTZ handled $7.3 billion in merchandise – including $1.7 billion in exports – with more than 900 workers employed by the companies using the FTZ. The Foreign Trade Zone program is just one of the ways in which we can boost employment, manufacturing, and exports from the United States.

As we move forward with the implementation of the BES, I look forward to close collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and the City of El Paso.

The U.S.-Mexico border is not a border economy. It is a vital part of the national economy of both nations, and I, for my part, will do what it takes to preserve, protect it and grow it.