Port of Tacoma works to improve, streamline Foreign Trade Zone

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Increased flexibility and a reduction in paperwork are two goals behind the Port of Tacoma’s efforts to have its Foreign Trade Zone No. 86 reorganized under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s new Alternative Site Framework program. FTZs give importers and exporters a flexible way to ship, store and add value to goods while delaying, reducing or, in some cases, eliminating payment of U.S. Customs duties.

The Port’s FTZ No. 86, one of the largest on the West Coast, was established in 1983 and has been expanded three times over the years. It includes both port land and privately-owned land, and currently consists of 12 sites totaling 2,266 acres. Mazda and Kia are two major users of Tacoma’s FTZ, using it to process imported autos.

The review process for the application is expected to take about six months. “Obtaining the ASF designation will help make our FTZ a more effective marketing tool,” says Jack Hedge, the port’s director of real estate and asset management. “It will dramatically increase our flexibility and speed in designating and adjusting sites within our FTZ to meet the changing needs of companies in our region.”