F O R E I G N -T R A D E   Z O N E   # 1 0 6

O K L A H O M A  C I T Y


    1. New designation expands possibilities for Shawnee - 01-12-2013
    2. U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Bolster Manufacturing, Generating
      Nearly $500 Billion in Economic Activity
      - 6-12-2008
    3. New Opportunities in Newest Ada & Guthrie,
      Oklahoma Foreign-Trades Zones
      - 10-17-2007
    4. The Big Picture, The National Impact
      of the Foreign-Trade Zones Program
      - 12-31-2005
    5. New participants into Foreign Trade Zone 106 - 1-5-2005
    6. Recruiting the Big Ones By Melissa Davis - 11-30-1998

    Recruiting the Big Ones by Melissa Davis
    Published in Oklahoma City Business

    In less than a year, Oklahoma City's tax-saving Foreign-Trade Zone sites could more than quadruple in number. FTZ leaders will spend the interim educating current and future businesses about the financial benefits of utilizing the zone. At the helm of this effort is Alba Weaver, economic development director for the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. Weaver recently explored new FTZ strategies at the 26th annual meeting of the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones. The meeting held October 19-22 in Monterey, Calif., attracted nearly 550 people. Attending also was Craig Knutson, chairman of the Oklahoma City Port Authority and chief economist for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. Knutson says he learned from the meeting that many FTZ's across the United States are in the same situation as Oklahoma City's. Basically, they have been legally eligible to do business for 10 to 15 years but have only recently begun taking advantage of their status.

    As the issues of globalization and competition continue to increase in importance," Knutson said, "more and more cities are putting their foreign trade zones to use."

    Both Weaver and Knutson hope to see Oklahoma City's long-dormant FTZ finally utilized to its full potential. First established approximately 15 years ago, the zone has been recently revived by an economic development grant. An expansion of the 240-acre zone is already in the works. Knutson plans to appear in Washington, D.C., later this month to personally request the expansion.

    We have already submitted all of the necessary documentation," said Weaver. "There is no reason to believe our application might not be approved.

    Presently, the Oklahoma City FTZ is comprised of three sites at Will Rogers World Airport. Pending approval, 10 new sites will be added in the metropolitan statistical area, including one in Moore and another in Edmond. Several interested businesses were specifically identified in the application for expansion, Knutson said. Meanwhile, the hunt for additional companies continues.

    We are being proactive by seeking out manufacturers and distributors who could profit from the zone," Weaver said. "We are focusing on our existing companies first, because we want to take care of the people who are already here.

    But right now, we are basically getting restarted," Weaver reminded. "We have had our FTZ grant in place for many years, but it is only in the past two that we have become an active zone. We are in the beginning stages of really developing our zone.

    According to Weaver, the majority of Oklahoma City's current FTZ beneficiaries are small importers who utilize the zone's general-purpose warehouse. Located north of Will Rogers World Airport, the warehouse provides 24-hour-a-day monitoring, computerized accounting, storing and other important services, she said. Products within the warehouse range from pager parts to footwear to bearings, she said. The FTZ's value varies by company, said Weaver. Proper assessment requires the consideration of many factors. Among these are the annual cost of imports, the percentage of rejected merchandise, the amount of imported merchandise sold to the military and the average inventory turnaround. Some companies, Weaver admits, would not profit from FTZ involvement.

    There have been companies that really wanted to participate, but I have had to turn them away because they simply would not benefit," Weaver stated. Weaver went on to explain that only those applications showing mutual benefit to the company and the community are typically approved. Of the 2,800 firms in the U.S. FTZ's, Weaver said, 70 percent are small businesses. These firms, 90 percent of them U.S.-based, export more than $18 billion dollars worth of products from FTZ's that generate in excess of $200 billion, she said.


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