What is a Foreign Trade Zone?

A foreign-trade zone (FTZ) is a geographical area in the United States where commercial merchandise — both domestic and foreign — receives the same Customs treatment it would if it were outside the commerce of the United States. Merchandise may be held within an FTZ without being subject to tariffs (customs duties) and other ad valorem taxes, providing tariff and tax relief to U.S.-based operations engaged in international trade.

NKY FTZ Opportunities

The Greater Cincinnati FTZ and Northern Kentucky FTZ are governed by a board of directors, referred to as the GC/NKY FTZ Board, whose members represent international trade and economic business leadership in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

FTZ 46 and FTZ 47 are governed jointly by the Board with separate grants of authority for the trade program in their respective service areas. The FTZ 47 service area covers Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties in Kentucky.

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

The Greater Cincinnati FTZ and Northern Kentucky FTZ, both originally established in 1979, are governed jointly by the board, with separate grants of authority for the trade program in their respective service area.  The GC/NKY FTZ board’s mission is to identify and implement economic development and foreign trade initiatives throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky regions to sustain and grow the region’s economic base.  In 2011, the Alternative Site Framework was approved by the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Board, allowing greater speed and flexibility for the program. In 2023, GC/NKY FTZ contracted with Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) & REDI Cincinnati to assist with administration of the program, working on behalf of the board of directors to provide administrative and marketing services for FTZs 46 and 47.

Download a printable overview.