foreign trade zone (FTZ)

FTZs (or free zones, free ports, or bonded warehouses) are special commercial and industrial areas in or near ports of entry where foreign and domestic merchandise, including raw materials, components, and finished goods, may be brought in without being subject to payment of customs duties. Merchandise brought into these zones may be stored, sold, exhibited, repacked, assembled, sorted, graded, cleaned, or otherwise manipulated prior to reexport or entry into the national customs territory.
(U.S.) FTZs are restricted-access sites in or near ports of entry, which are licensed by the Foreign-Trade Zones Board and operated under the supervision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Zones are operated under public utility principles to create and maintain employment by encouraging operations in the U.S. which might otherwise have been carried on abroad.
Subzones are a special-purpose type of ancillary zone authorized by the Board for companies unable to operate effectively at public zone sites. Subzones may be approved when it can be demonstrated that the activity to be performed there will result in significant public benefit and is in the public interest.
A Foreign Trade Zones Board, created by the Foreign Trade Zones Act of 1934, reviews and approves applications to establish, operate, and maintain foreign trade zones.
See free trade area; grantee; operator; zone user; subzones; free trade agreement.
Location of and general information on U.S. Foreign Trade Zones may be obtained from Foreign Trade Zones Board; Department of Commerce; Washington, DC 20230 USA; Tel: [1] (202) 482-2862; Fax: [1] (202) 482-0002.
Questions relating to operational aspects of such responsibilities should be addressed to the appropriate district/area director of U.S. Customs.
The Foreign Trade Zones Manual, for grantees, operators, users, Customs brokers, may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents; U.S. Government Printing Office; Mail Stop: IDCC; 732 N. Capitol Street, NW; Washington, DC 20401; Tel: [1] (866) 512-1800, [1] (202) 512-1800; Web:
Additional information may be obtained from the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones; 1001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 350; Washington, DC 20036; Tel: [1] (202) 331-1950; Web:

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