What is a Foreign Trade Zone?

A U.S. Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ or Zone) is a restricted-access site within the United States that is legally considered outside of Customs territory for the purpose of tariffs or duties, so goods may be brought into the site duty-free and without formal customs entry. The purpose of the FTZ program since its inception in 1934 has been to expedite and encourage foreign commerce within the United States. All 50 states, plus Puerto Rico, have established FTZs.

NKY FTZ Opportunities

The Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ 47) for Northern Kentucky offers duty-deferral savings that assist firms that import goods from foreign countries. Communities in Northern Kentucky will consider additional FTZs for qualified projects or developments.

Companies that import more than $3M per year or receive over 500 shipments per year can save money by setting up an FTZ subzone. Foreign Trade Zone 47 encompasses Northern Kentucky, and seven companies in a variety of industries have established subzones within their businesses. The Greater Cincinnati Foreign Trade Zones are operated by The Port. Check out the video (right) or visit gcftz.com for more information.

How to Leverage a Foreign Trade Zone

  1. Fill out an application
  2. Execute agreements with the local FTZ grantee, Greater Cincinnati Foreign Trade Zone, Inc.
  3. Complete the required security protocols with Customs and Border Protection
  4. Finalize the inventory record-keeping manual
  5. Complete a Customs and Border Protection security visit
  6. Complete Customs and Border Protection issues activation

Qualification and Expected Timeline
Processing time varies from six months to one year. In order to qualify, you must do $3M in imports or 500 imported shipments annually.

History and Governance of FTZ 47 in NKY

Under a grant of authority issued in 1978 by the Department of Commerce, Greater Cincinnati FTZ, Inc., a non-profit agency, serves as the grantee sponsorship organization for the trade program. Its mission is to identify and implement economic development and foreign trade initiatives throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky regions to sustain and grow the region’s economic base. The organization is governed by a board of directors, whose members represent international trade and economic business leadership in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

Download a printable overview.