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Exports from U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Hit Another Record in 2012

Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Foreign-Trade Zones Board’s annual report on FTZ activities shows that in calendar year 2012 zone activity again saw a substantial increase. Highlights of the report’s findings include the following.

- There were 256 approved FTZs and 174 active, with a total of 276 active manufacturing and production operations. Approximately 370,000 persons were employed at some 3,200 firms that used FTZs.

- The FTZ Board approved the creation of five new FTZs, the reorganization of 35 zones under the alternative site framework, and 21applications and notifications for new or expanded manufacturing authority. The Board also processed 150 requests administratively, including minor boundary modifications and scope determinations.

- Exports from facilities operating under FTZ procedures amounted to $69.9 billion, the second straight record high and a 28.9% increase from 2011. This figure does not include certain indirect exports involving FTZ merchandise that undergoes further processing in the U.S. at non-FTZ sites prior to export.

- The value of shipments into zones totaled $732.2 billion, also a record and up 14.4% from the previous year. Three quarters of these shipments ($550.4 billion) were used for manufacturing and production operations while the rest went to warehouse and distribution operations.

- About 58% of the shipments received at zones involved domestic status merchandise, indicating that FTZ activity tends to involve domestic operations that combine foreign inputs with significant domestic inputs. This figure has remained relatively flat for the past few years following a steady decline from a high of about 80% in the mid-1990s.

- The largest industries accounting for zone manufacturing and production activity include oil refining, automotive, electronics, pharmaceutical, and machinery and equipment.

- The main foreign-origin products received at zones for warehousing and distribution operations included oil and petroleum ($29.7 million), vehicles ($16.2 million), consumer electronics ($9.8 million), textiles and footwear ($3.8 million), and consumer products ($3.3 million).

- The main foreign-origin products received at zones for manufacturing and production operations included oil and petroleum ($187.9 million), vehicle parts ($9.5 million), consumer electronics ($6.7 million), pharmaceuticals ($5.1 million), and machinery and equipment ($4.6 million).

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