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Foreign-Trade Zones Enhance U.S. Competitiveness, Grow Economy

Trade & Development - Foreign Trade Zones

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) today announced it is seeking public comments on proposed revised regulations for its U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) program. FTZs boost the U.S. economy by enhancing U.S. manufacturers’ competitiveness, helping to maintain domestic activity, and creating jobs in the communities where they are located. Companies in FTZs currently employ nearly 330,000 U.S. workers and export approximately US$30 billion a year in merchandise.

The proposed regulations support the President’s National Export Initiative by enabling U.S. manufacturers to compete more effectively for global export business. Rather than continuing to require advance approval by the FTZ Board, the proposed regulations would generally allow a company manufacturing for export to simply report its FTZ activity at year’s end. This proposed change should dramatically improve the flexibility and responsiveness of the FTZ program for U.S. exporters.

“The Foreign-Trade Zones program helps companies create and keep jobs here in America,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. “The revised regulations proposed today will make it even easier for companies to take advantage of the Foreign-Trade Zones program and expand their exports.”

The proposed regulations published in today’s Federal Register contain a range of provisions designed to maximize the ability of U.S. facilities to compete in the global trading environment. The notice is available at http://frwebgate3.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/TEXTgate.cgi?WAISdocID=BPtLpC/0/1/0&WAISaction=retrieve.

To help enable the public to understand the proposed regulations and to make the best use of the public comment period, ITA’s Foreign-Trade Zones staff will conduct a series of public forums from late January through early March 2011 in Washington, D.C., and selected cities.

There are currently more than 250 FTZs nationwide. For more information about FTZs, the proposed regulations, submitting comments, and the upcoming public forums, please visit www.trade.gov/ftz.

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