Foreign Trade Zones or FTZ are secure areas under supervision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that are considered outside the customs territory of the United States for the purposes of duty payment. Located in or near customs ports of entry, they are the U.S. version of what are known internationally as free trade zones. Authority for establishing these facilities is granted by the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board under the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934, as amended (19 U.S.C. §§81a-81u), and the Board’s regulations (15 C.F.R. Part 400).
Foreign and domestic merchandise may, subject to FTZ Board and CBP regulations, be moved into zones for operations not otherwise prohibited by law involving storage, exhibition, assembly, manufacturing, and processing. Domestic goods moved into a zone for export are considered exported upon entering the zone for purposes of excise tax rebates and drawback. The benefits obtained through FTZ procedures help encourage U.S. activity, employment and value added, often in competition with foreign alternatives. FTZ sites and activities remain within the jurisdiction of federal, state and local governments and agencies.
On August 29, 2012, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Foreign Trade Zone Board approved the reorganization of the City of Laredo, Foreign-Trade Zone 94 service area to include all of 3,376 square miles of Webb County, under the Alternative Site Framework (ASF). Laredo’s FTZ has now expanded from the original 7 sites and 4 Temporary Boundary Modifications to include all of Webb County, Texas. According to the FTZ Board in 2018 there were 195 active FTZ programs in the United States.
Laredo is the 13th largest Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) for warehouse and distribution in the U.S. for exports activity; surpassing cities like Boston, Detroit, and El Paso.
In Laredo’s FTZ No. 94, there are 7 active Magnet FTZ sites and 4 Usage Driven sites with over 40 FTZ Operators. Magnet sites in Laredo are as follow:
- Magnet Site 1- Laredo International Airport Complex (500 acres)
- Magnet Site 2 – The Texas Mexican Railway Industrial Park (20 acres)
- Magnet Site 3 – The Killam Tract (550 acres)
- Magnet Site 4 – The International Commerce Center (1,500 acres)
- Magnet Site 5 – The La Barranca Ranch (930 acres)
- Magnet Site 6 – The Unitec Industrial Center (682 acres)
- Magnet Site 7- The Embarcadero Business Park (831 acres)
TOTAL 5,013 acres