How do I get started with a Foreign-Trade Zone?

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Once you contact us to begin the process, we will help you through the two major phases: Application and Activation.

The application requires

  • Site address
  • Site’s acreage
  • Company at the site and company’s activities
  • Type of site, zoning, and existing/planned buildings
  • Site owner
  • Legal description for site’s land
  • Site plan, including a map with legible landmarks or streets

Activation requires:

  • U.S. Customs on-site evaluation and site inspection for FTZ suitability
  • Blueprint of the area to be activated
  • Procedure Manual that documents inventory control and record-keeping
  • A Written Activation request

How much does a Foreign-Trade Zone cost?

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A one-time application fee of $10,000 covers legal fees, operating agreement, and employee oversight. A one-time activation fee of $5,500 covers written request for site inspection, a blueprint of the area to be activated, and on-site inspection by U.S. Customs. An annual fee of $10,000 covers zone maintenance including marketing, training, insurance, bonds, and fees. 

Sites can reduce costs by submitting weekly entry reports. The Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) is 0.21% of the Total Estimated Value, with a maximum fee of $485 per entry. The de-activation fee is $3,000.

What is involved in the FTZ activation process?

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Before FTZ procedures can be used at an approved FTZ site, the operator must request ‘activation’ from local U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Activation requests should include the following:

  1. Letter on company letterhead signed by a company officer requesting the need for FTZ activation
  2. Letter from Greater Dayton Foreign Trade Zone, Inc. supporting the activation request
  3. Qualifications, character and experience of an operator, principal officers and/or key employees that are responsible for the zone are of critical importance. The activation request must therefore include completed background investigation forms on company officers and key FTZ personnel including any employee who has access or could cause charges to the inventory and record keeping system. Questions on this form should be answered with complete honesty. If the background investigation discloses derogatory information, including omissions and falsehoods, the Port Director may deny the request.
  4. A blueprint of the area to be activated
  5. An Operator’s Procedure Manual describing the inventory control and record keeping system that will be used in the zone

Review of Request

  1. As a condition of approval of the request, the Port Director will order an inquiry by a Customs officer into the security, suitability and fitness of the facility to receive merchandise in zone status. The surveying officer may prepare a survey report addressing Customs physical and procedural standards. (Cargo Security Survey)
  2. The Port Director in making a decision whether to approve the request may consider other factors. (e.g. sale of firm to another party prior to approval; demonstration of inability or unwillingness to comply with the law; regulations or grant conditions)

Decision on Request

  1. The Port Director shall promptly notify the applicant in writing of the decision to approve or deny the request to activate. If denied, the notification will state the grounds for denial. The decision of the Port Director will be the final Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) administrative determination in the matter.
  2. On approval of the request, an FTZ Operators’ Bond shall be executed on CBP Form 301, containing the bond conditions of Section 19 CFR 113.73.
  3. Upon the Port Director’s approval of the request and acceptance of the executed bond, the zone site will be considered activated and merchandise may be admitted to the zone in zone status.

What is a Foreign-Trade Zone?

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A Foreign-Trade Zone or FTZ is a restricted-access site that is treated, as it relates to tariffs and Customs procedures, as being outside the Customs territory of the United States. Merchandise may enter the FTZ without a formal Customs entry, payment of Customs duties, or payment of federal excise taxes. 

The Alternative Site Framework (ASF) is a new FTZ approach that enables the zone to be marketed and the FTZ benefits brought to companies at their existing place of business. 

There are two types of sites within an FTZ:

  1. Magnet Sites are designated to attract future business and are very similar to current GPZ sites, both in function and application process. It can take up to 10 months for approval and offers a 5-year sunset limit.
  2. Usage-Drive sites are designated specifically for one company. the very brief and easy application process can be approved in as little as 30 days and has a 3-year sunset limit.