When a community determines that a Foreign-Trade Zone project
is needed and can be feasibly established and operated, then it
must address the Foreign-Trade Zone application process. Prior
to preparing the application, several questions should have already
will serve as the Zone Grantee? The Grantee is typically
a public corporation. The proposed Grantee must qualify to serve
as a Grantee under state enabling legislation concerning Foreign-Trade
Zones, and, should be an organization that represents a broad
segment of the communitys economic interests.
site or sites will serve as the communitys General Purpose
Zone? The General Purpose Zone can be comprised of several
non-contiguous sites. Industrial park areas with companies who
are confirmed to be prospective users normally receive the highest
priority. Sites set aside for industrial and commercial development
are also often included. If sites are owned by parties other
than the Grantee or other public entities, care must be taken
to assure that all parties understand the potential benefits
and obligations. Zone status does not confer additional value
on real estate.
will oversee and finance the operation of the Zone project?
Will it be the Grantee or some private organization? In either
case, the prospective Grantee must be able to demonstrate how
will public utility principles be applied in the management
and use of the Zone project.
application itself consists of a letter of transmittal, an executive
summary and five exhibits. These elements are outlined below with
some parenthetical tips or commentary where pertinent.
Letter of Transmittal
be currently dated and signed by officer of Grantee organization
of organization making the application and its legal authority
to do so
of Zone authority requested (In the case of a new Zone project,
this should be stated. Also, state whether the Zone project
is being established under the "entitlement" provision,
or if it is being established as an additional Zone project
within a given port of entry.)
Zone site, or sites, and the larger project of which the Zone
is a part
background (Briefly explain the impetus for establishing the
of the Zone project to the communitys economic development
for operating and financing the Zone project
Exhibit 1 -- Authority to Apply
copy of state enabling legislation (Contact your Secretary of
State or the Clerk of your State Legislature.)
of pertinent sections of Grantees charter or organization
copy of Grantee resolution authorizing execution of the Letter
of Transmittal and submission of the application
2 -- Site Description
of Zone project with list of existing Zone sites
site or sites with appropriate legal descriptions; addresses
and indications as to the legal jurisdiction of site or sites
(if multiple sites, label each, i.e. "Site 1," "Site
of the larger project of which the Zone is a part
regarding adjacency to a Customs port of entry
of facilities and services available at the site or sites
of existing or proposed site qualifications (zoning, etc.)
of current or proposed activities
of transportation services and facilities
3 -- Operation and financing
ownership and applicants right of use (or, alternatively,
indications that the owner or owners will make the site available
for zone use)
for financing capital and operating costs
time schedule for construction and activation
4 -- Economic Justification
of communitys economic goals and objectives (Discuss the
communitys overall economic plans. Describe the role that
the Zone project plays in those plans.)
profile of the community (Discuss the communitys dominant
economic sectors in terms of percentage of employment or income.
Discuss the areas economic resources, its problems, and
imbalances. Provide a description of the areas unemployment
rates, foreign trade statistics. Describe the areas port
facilities and/or its transportation networks.)
justification for the Zone project (Describe existing need,
if you have identified it. Describe the Zone projects
overall goals and objectives.)
of each proposed site
Type of site
Services/facilities available or planned
Proposed Zone activity
Specific indication of interest
justification for each proposed site
Type of site
Types of services, facilities, and parcels available
Types of Zone uses that could be available
Specific proposed Zone users (include surveys, letters of interest
Impact (each site) Status of local zoning and land use permits/issues
the use of FTZ procedures significantly change the physical
aspects of the site, or change existing or proposed operations?
FTZ status or the use of FTZ procedures a requirement or
precondition for construction or activity at the site?
that applicant is aware that FTZ status would not exempt
any site or party (e.g. operators or users) from any federal,
state or local environmental requirements
as to whether any specific manufacturing authority is to
be requested in the application
manufacturing authority is being requested
discussion of proposed manufacturing operations
information on proposed activity is required (See Exhibit
4 on the "Subzone Applications" web page.)
5 -- Maps
map indicating location of Zone site or sites
drawing of Zone sites showing Zone boundaries in red with
dimensions and metes and bounds
map showing the Zones location relative to the states
(or equivalent) map of each proposed site
the Zone project is to be established as an additional Zone project
adjacent to a particular port of entry, an application fee of
$3,200 is required. If the Zone project is to be established under
the entitlement provision, no fee is required.
and Processing by the Foreign-Trade Zones Board
In order to be approved by the Foreign-Trade Zones Board, an application
goes through the following review and process:
and Prefiling Review
Upon receipt of the application the Foreign-Trade Zones Board
staff reviews it for sufficiency. If the application is deficient,
it will be returned to the applicant within 20 days. If the application
is found to be sufficient, then the Board formally files the application,
assigns it a docket number, and notifies the applicant. This normally
occurs within 45 days of submission.
The Foreign-Trade Zones Board publishes public notice of the application
in the Federal Register and assigns an examiner (an internal staff
member) to the case.
Filing in the Federal Register triggers the public comment period.
During the public comment period (normally 60 to 90 days) interested
parties may submit comments to the Board in support of, or in
opposition to, the application.
If negative comments are received, then the applicant has up to
15 days after the close of the public comment period during which
it may submit rebuttal comments to the Board. (Sometimes public
comment periods may be extended in order to allow the various
parties to reach a common understanding regarding the issues surrounding
The Board arranges for a public hearing, usually in the community
where the proposed Zone project is to be established. Public notice
as to the time and place of the public hearing are required.
The application is reviewed by the Foreign-Trade Zones Board examiner
within the Department of Commerce, and by a representative of
the Treasury Department, usually the office of the U.S. Customs
Service having jurisdiction over the area to be served by the
proposed Zone project.
Report and Recommendation
The examiners report (comments of the Department of Commerce
staff and local office of U.S. Customs) is prepared and submitted
to the Executive Secretary of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board. This
normally occurs within 120 days of the close of the public comment
If the report is unfavorable, then the applicant will be notified
(within 5 days of the reports submission) and the applicant
will be given 30 days in which to respond with addition evidence
to justify the applications approval.
If the report is favorable, then the application is sent to the
Treasury Department and to the office of the Assistant Secretary
of Commerce for Import Administration for final review.
Upon review and approval within the Departments of Commerce and
Treasury, the Foreign-Trade Zones Board issues a Board Order and
publishes the decision in the Federal Register and notifies the
applicant of the applications approval.
Typically, applications that do not involve manufacturing under
Zone procedures take from 10 to 12 months for processing and review.
Applications that involve manufacturing under Zone procedures
typically take 12 months or longer; however, applications that
involve FTZ manufacturing authority that meet so-called "fast-track
review" procedures may be processed more quickly.