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For Immediate Release: September 18, 2006
Contact: Jennifer Scoggins  (202) 482-3809


More Flexibility, Quicker Approvals to Help Companies Do Business Globally

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary David Spooner today announced major improvements to the U.S. foreign-trade zone (FTZ) program. The improvements significantly increase flexibility for short-term manufacturing approvals and reduce processing times for all FTZ manufacturing applications, which will assist U.S. manufacturers in doing business globally.

"These FTZ changes will improve the playing field for American companies and workers doing business overseas,” said Spooner. “These enhancements underscore the Bush Administration’s commitment to giving America's workers the tools they need to compete and win in a dynamic global environment."

Spooner announced the changes at the annual conference of the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones in Orlando, FL. One of the announced changes will result in FTZ manufacturing applications generally being processed quicker, in six to eight months, instead of the 12 months allowed under the regulations. Additionally, the other change involves adopting a more flexible approach for manufacturers seeking Temporary or Interim manufacturing (TIM) authority, with applications now possible for products and components similar, rather than identical, to earlier FTZ approvals. TIM applications are processed within 90 days.

For many U.S. manufacturers, FTZ authorization is an essential tool for competing with factories overseas. The duty-equalized treatment available through the FTZ program helps lower the cost of producing goods in the United States compared to foreign competition. Individual FTZ manufacturing applications are evaluated by the U.S. FTZ Board to ensure a positive effect on the U.S. economy.

In general, foreign goods can be warehoused in a FTZ and U.S. import duties will not be paid until the goods leave the FTZ for the U.S. market. If the goods are re-exported, U.S. import duties do not have to be paid. With the sponsorship of a local FTZ and specific approval from the U.S. FTZ Board, American factories can also benefit from the FTZ program.

As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration, Spooner is responsible for leading the Import Administration in its enforcement of trade laws and agreements to level the playing field for U.S. businesses competing in a global environment. One element of Spooner's portfolio is administering the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones program. FTZs are locally sponsored sites, approved by the U.S. FTZ Board, where special Customs procedures can be used. U.S. manufacturers can operate within existing FTZ sites or, if necessary, ask their local FTZ to sponsor an extension of the zone at the manufacturer's facility.

For more information about the FTZs, please visit

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