Miami-Dade’s Aviation Department is working to set up a foreign trade zone magnet site on Miami International Airport property, which officials say will attract new business opportunities and better utilize vacant cargo and non-terminal areas.
“It’s a long application,” Aviation Director Emilio González told Miami Today. “We have submitted our foreign trade zone magnet site application to the Port of Miami; they are the grantee for the foreign trade zone.”
With a projected launch date of early 2017, the foreign trade zone has the potential to generate $7.7 million a year in lease revenue and create an estimated 1,500 jobs at the airport.
Foreign trade zones lure businesses because the sites allow goods to be unloaded, manufactured, reassembled, tested, sampled, processed, repacked and re-exported without intervention by US Customs authorities.
Zone users benefit from duty exemptions and face no duties or quota changes on re-exports; duty deferrals where customs duties and federal excise taxes are deferred on imports; inverted tariff duty rates; logistical benefits such as streamlined customs efficiencies including direct delivery and weekly entry; and elimination of duties on waste, scrap and rejected or defective parts. By reducing these costs, businesses can compete better globally.
“Once the Port of Miami approves the trade zone application, then it goes before the board of county commissioners for approval,” Mr. González said. “Afterward, the process flows into the hands of the US Foreign-Trade Zones Board.”
“The department has not received a foreign trade zone application related to Miami International Airport at this time,” a US Department of Commerce official told Miami Today. “Once the application is submitted, the department generally has 10 months to adjudicate the request. During this time, there will be an opportunity for public comment and information about the application will be publicly available throughout the process.”
Aside from the Commerce Department, foreign trade zones are also approved in part by US Customs and Border Protection, because the areas are in or near ports of entry. Officially, the Foreign-Trade Zones Board grants authority for establishing the foreign trade zones under the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934.
About 250 general-purpose zones and over 500 subzones now operate in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, according to the Foreign-Trade Zones Board.
Miami-Dade County is home to four foreign trade zones, including one run by PortMiami, which has a major geographic trade advantage.
Three phases govern the application process to become a magnet site:
Application approval from PortMiami (Foreign Trade Zone No. 281’s Grantee).
Approval from the Foreign-Trade Zones Board and Site Operator Agreement.
Activation from US Customs and Border Protection and Grantee Approval.
A magnet site application costs $10,000. The airport hopes to attract usage-driven site clients through a strategic marketing plan designed to draw new industries and businesses into the airport.