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County Executive's Office

County Executive Falk Announces Move to Establish Foreign Trade Zone at Dane County Regional Airport

March 07, 2002
Sharyn Wisniewski,(608) 267-8823
County Executive

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced that the county’s airport is moving to establish a Foreign Trade Zone, likely to bring jobs and new business expansion to Dane County. A Foreign Trade Zone is an area within the United States that the federal government considers “outside the country,” or at least outside of the U.S. Customs territory for tariff purposes. FTZs are secure areas located in or near U.S. customs ports of entry, where certain types of merchandise can be imported without going through formal customs entry procedures or paying import duties. Companies located in such zones are typically not charged tariffs on their product inventory until it is sold, which improves a company’s cash flow and saves substantial dollars. They would pay a fee to the airport, as administrator, to operate in the FTZ. “Dane County has a number of businesses that potentially would benefit from expanding all or part of their operations here, bringing dollars and jobs into our county,” said Falk. The Dane County Board of Supervisors tonight (March 7) is scheduled to vote on a resolution authorizing a purchase of services agreement to conduct a feasibility study for establishing a FTZ at the Dane County Regional Airport. The resolution has gained unanimous support from the Airport Commission, the Public Works Committee, and the Personnel and Finance Committee. Bright Consulting, Inc., of Madison was selected through a Request for Proposal process, to conduct the feasibility study, which will include identification of businesses that may seek to utilize a FTZ. Continuing to a second and third phase, to coordinate and conduct the FTZ application, and to provide direction to structure, promote and govern the FTZ, will be determined after the study is completed. “The $104,000 cost of the feasibility study will be paid with airport funds, generated through airport operations, and involves no tax levy,” said Interim Airport Director David Jensen. The Dane County Regional Airport is the official entity seeking status to operate a Foreign Trade Zone. The feasibility assessment is the first of several steps toward consideration of a zone in this region. A feasibility study and an economic impact analysis must accompany any potential application to the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC. Zone structure, financing, governance and operations are also considered. The U.S. Foreign Trade Zones program, created by the federal government in 1934, has grown over the last 30 years. In 1970 there were eight Foreign Trade Zone projects (with a total of three subzones) in the United States. Today there are over 230 Foreign Trade Zone projects (with nearly 400 Subzones) in the United States. Subzones can be located in areas not immediately adjacent to the primary zone. There are currently two Foreign Trade Zones operating in Wisconsin, Brown County/Green Bay and Milwaukee. # # #
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