The Foreign Trade Zone serving the Research Triangle area is now officially accessible to all 13 counties covered by the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, under a reorganization and expansion plan submitted by the Triangle J Council of Governments, as Grantee for Foreign Trade Zone #93. Under the plan recently approved by the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Board, FTZ #93 adds six counties – Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Person, Vance and Warren – to the seven counties already in its territory, including Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange and Wake.
“This enhancement to the region’s Foreign Trade Zone offers new capacity to promote export-import business activity and all-important job growth for the regional labor market,” said Tom White, long-term member and incoming Chairman of the Rates, Tariff and Legal Review Board for FTZ #93. White credited out-going Chairman Michael Weisel, as well as former FTZ #93 Administrator Pamela Davison and current Administrator Renée Boyette, for their diligence in pursuing ASF approval and mobilizing support throughout the region.
In addition to expanding the service area of FTZ #93, the approval authorized a new way for the region’s Foreign Trade Zone to conduct business. The Alternative Site Framework, or ASF, provides greater flexibility, expedites access to the benefits of the Foreign Trade Zone program and lowers participation barriers, especially for small and medium sized businesses. Under the ASF, a zone can establish two types of sites, magnet sites and usage-driven sites. Magnet sites are intended to attract users to a single fixed location, generally in a business park or a port facility. Usage-driven sites are geared toward specific companies, enabling grantees to locate zone designation where companies’ needs actually arise. By bringing zone designation to firms, usage-driven sites help grantees respond to growth opportunities in the local economy and diminish the need to try to anticipate where future activity may occur. Under the ASF, a usage-driven site application is much simpler and the turnaround is expected to be much quicker than for a subzone or site under the old framework.
Under the ASF, Foreign Trade Zone #93 currently consists of three magnet sites: a permanent magnet site at World Trade Park, operated by Longistics International; the Holly Springs Business Park in Holly Springs and Imperial Center in RTP. A site established for Dudson China, USA, is now designated as a usage-driven site. Subzones, which were not affected by the reorganization, include two Merck Sharp and Dohme Corporation subzones (Wilson County and Durham County) and Revlon Consumer Products in Granville County.
About Foreign Trade Zones
Foreign Trade Zones are established as very secure areas in or near ports of entry, such as the RDU Airport, and are considered outside of U.S. “commerce” but under U.S. Customs supervision. Foreign Trade Zones provide special customs procedures to U.S. companies engaged in international trade. The goal is to offset customs advantages available to overseas producers competing with domestic industry. Foreign Trade Zone #93 is one of six foreign trade zones in North Carolina: #57 – Charlotte, #66 – Wilmington, #67 – Morehead City, #93 – Research Triangle, #214 – Global TransPark and #230 – Piedmont Triad.