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Benefits of foreign trade zones outlined

May 25, 2011

ZONE TALK ... Part of the audience of 25 to 30 people for an address about foreign trade zones is seen in a meeting room in Adams Memorial Hospital on Tuesday. The guest speaker was Ola DeGabriele, international trade manager for the City of Fort Wayne. (Photo by Eric Mann)

    More than 20 people from businesses, governments, etc. in Adams County attended a presentation held Tuesday in Decatur about foreign trade zones (FTZs).
    The presenter was Ola DeGabriele, international trade manager for the City of Fort Wayne. The event was held in a meeting room at Adams Memorial Hospital and was set up by the Adams County Economic Development Corp.
    According to DeGabriele, a foreign trade zone is a secured place authorized by the federal government that is considered outside the Customs territory of the United States, though under U.S. Customs supervision and control.
    Many firms use foreign trade zones to postpone and, in the case of re-export of cargo, to avoid the application of U.S. Customs laws that impose duties, taxes, bonds, quotas, and other requirements.
    Domestic and foreign merchandise may be stored indefinitely at a foreign trade zone. It may be manufactured, displayed, sold, or altered in almost any way that isn't prohibited by U.S. law. As long as the merchandise remains in the zone, it is not subject to U.S. Customs laws governing the entry of goods into Customs territory or payment of duty on those goods.
    Merchandise subject to quotas may be admitted to a foreign trade zone without regard to those quotas and no duty is assessed on domestic merchandise that enters Customs territory from a zone."
    There are two types of foreign trade zones: general purpose zones and special-purpose subzones. General purpose zones operate as public utilities, offering varied services to many users. Special-purpose subzones are single-use facilities that cannot be in general purpose zones.
    There are four status designations of merchandise that can be put into an FTZ: domestic, nonprivileged foreign, privileged foreign, and zone-restricted.
    The overall benefits to the public of using foreign trade zones are, according to an information sheet provided by DeGabriele:
    • Help facilitate and expedite international trade.
    • Provide special customs procedures to help firms conduct international trade-related operations in competition with foreign plants.
    • Encourage and facilitate exports.
    • Help attract offshore activity and encourage retention of domestic activity.
    • Assist state and local economic development efforts"
    • Help create employment opportunities.
    However, says the sheet, "...activity must not conflict with United States trade policy or harm domestic industry or other domestic plants outside of foreign trade zones."

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