July 22, 2021 Blogs

The Foreign-Trade Zone Advantage

As most locals know, there are innumerable benefits to locating a business in the Tri-Cities region. With a low cost of living, available workforce, and exceptional development opportunities, it’s easy to understand how businesses can thrive in Northeast Tennessee. Businesses who import and export goods have even further benefits by locating their company in or near the Tri-Cities.

Businesses throughout our region are located within the service area of Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 204. The presence of FTZ 204 and U.S. Customs Port number 2027 allows regional businesses to quickly and more cost-efficiently import goods from outside of the United States. But what exactly is a Foreign-Trade Zone?

A Foreign-Trade Zone is a geographical area, in or adjacent to a United States Port of Entry, where commercial merchandise, both domestic and foreign receives the same Customs treatment it would if it were outside the commerce of the United States. An FTZ allows uncleared, foreign-status merchandise to travel directly into an activated FTZ site, bypassing the Customs clearance process at larger, more congested ports of entry. Importers can even be authorized to break the Customs seal on imported merchandise without Customs agents present.

An additional benefit to bypassing the Customs clearance process on the front-end is that FTZ users do not have Customs duties assessed on merchandise when it enters their facility. The merchandise can be stored for an indefinite period and remain duty-free. While in a FTZ user’s activated facility, the uncleared merchandise can be repackaged, modified, manipulated, relabeled, manufactured further, and re-exported without the importer paying Customs duties on the merchandise. Duties are only assessed and paid once uncleared merchandise leaves the importer’s FTZ facility and enters the U.S. domestic economy. If the merchandise is exported back out of the country from the FTZ site, the importer never pays duties on it because it technically never enters the U.S. domestic economy.

FTZ 204 includes the complete footprint of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, meaning businesses located anywhere within our region are eligible to access Zone benefits.  If your business imports or re-exports merchandise, using the FTZ may help alleviate the costs and time associated with the Customs clearance process.

All of these benefits are valuable not only to existing businesses throughout the region but also potential tenants of TRI Aerospace Park. Aerospace Park, which is now fully completed and ready for facility construction The entire park is adjoined to TRI’s taxiway system and 8,000’ main runway, making Aerospace Park the perfect location for MRO, passenger to freighter conversions, completions, or any number of aerospace industrial activities.

To learn more about Aerospace Park, the FTZ 204 or U.S. Customs and Border Protection services at TRI, contact Mark Canty at mcanty@triflight.com or by calling 423-367-2385.