Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Proposed Foreign Trade Zones Need Niche Market

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Proposed Foreign Trade Zones Need Niche Market

Article excerpt

There are over 230 approved Foreign Trade Zones in the United States, with more zone designations being sought all the time. Although FTZ's exist in or near all major U.S. ports of entry -- and may have reached the saturation point -- opportunities exist for secondary hubs to secure a trade zone, and all the tariff and duty benefits that accompany that status.

The competition to secure a new trade zone is fierce. Applications are coming under greater scrutiny. The government is looking for a clear indication of need. "We examine the level of trade in the community, assess the demand for trade services and international business opportunities. Letters of interest or support from qualified companies strengthen a city's application," said Dennis Puccinelli, the Acting Director of Foreign Trade Zones at the Department of Commerce.

The city of Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County, Florida, offers a good case example. The region already has one trade zone at Port Everglades. By all accounts the zone there has done very well, with 16 tenants in 400,000 square feet of space. Thus, Fort Lauderdale officials must address the twin issues of need and concern about adverse competition with the existing zone.

It is this very dilemma that creates opportunities for cities seeking to create new trade zones. The Fort Lauderdale application is crafted explicitly to serve the expanding number of businesses doing international trade that are located distant from Port Everglades. Moreover, the city has agreed to a noncompetitive, cooperative marketing plan for the proposed new zone. …

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