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