County seeks changes in Foreign Trade Zone designations from the Federal Government


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EL CENTRO – The County requested on September 1 the Federal government to allow a reorganization process from the traditional Foreign Trade Zone to a Alternate Site Framework.

In 2002, the County submitted an application to the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone to establish designated areas within the county and cities as a Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ). In 2003, the county was granted FTZ’s of almost 2,000 acres in the valley. Since 2005, the county has completed three activations and has two in line.

However, the originally designated areas are not conducive to many businesses, and changing sites to more advantages locations through the federal government is time consuming and quite costly to the county.

In August the board took advantage of the Alternate Site Framework to redistrict FTZ properties to better access more tax advantage designations. Under the Alternate Site Framework, changes can happen within six weeks, a miracle within government bureaucracies.

Foreign Trade Zones stimulate business by offering relief from inverted tariffs, duty exemption of re-exports, elimination of duty on waste, scrap, and yield loss, weekly entry savings, and duty deferral.

El Centro has the most acreage of the cities under the current system, topping 500 acres, the county counts over 750 acres.

The Alternative Site Framework basically allows the whole county to be covered, removing the need to redraw boundaries and swapping acre for acre.

Furthermore, all sites get “sunset” limits that remove the designation if unused in three to five years.

The FTZ is funded by the cities and county of Imperial for the full budget of $60,000. Each city pays a percentage of $30 thousand according to their population, while the county matches the amount to total the $60 thousand budget.