The Foreign-Trade Zones Board recently issued its 80th annual report to Congress, which discusses the Board’s activities during calendar year 2018.

The FTZ Board received and docketed 79 requests and issued 88 decisions in 2018. These decisions included the reorganization or expansion of 19 zones under the alternative site framework as well as decisions on 64 applications and notifications for new or expanded production authority. Under delegated authority, FTZ Board staff processed an additional 227 requests that included minor boundary modifications and scope determinations.  

There were 195 active FTZs in 2018, with a total of 330 active production operations. Over 440,000 persons were employed at some 3,300 firms that used FTZs during the year. The value of shipments into zones totaled over $793 billion, compared with over $669 billion in 2017. About 63 percent of the shipments received at zones involved domestic status merchandise. The level of domestic status inputs used by FTZ operations indicates that FTZ activity tends to involve domestic operations that combine foreign inputs with significant domestic inputs.

Warehouse/distribution operations received nearly $290 billion in merchandise in 2018, while production operations received nearly $504 billion (63 percent of zone activity). The largest industries accounting for zone production activity include the oil refining, automotive, electronics, pharmaceutical, and machinery/equipment sectors. 

Exports from facilities operating under FTZ procedures amounted to over $112 billion in 2018. The export figures do not include certain indirect exports involving FTZ merchandise that undergoes further processing in the U.S. at non-FTZ sites prior to export.

Texas and Louisiana were the top two states in 2018 in terms of merchandise received into and exported from FTZs, while California, Illinois, and South Carolina followed in terms of merchandise received into FTZs and South Carolina, Florida, and Puerto Rico followed in terms of exports from FTZs. Texas and Louisiana led the way in FTZ production activity while California ranked first in merchandise received for warehousing/distribution activities.

For more information on how FTZs can benefit your business, please contact customs and trade attorney Lenny Feldman at (305) 894-1011.

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