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Niagara County to activate foreign trade zone

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Wed, Aug 10th 2016 04:45 pm

Companies will be able to buy and sell internationally without customs taxes and tariffs

By Christian W. Peck

Public Information Officer

Niagara County Public Information Office

Business operating in Niagara County will have a potential leg up on competition when a 31-acre foreign trade zone is activated in the county's Vantage International Point industrial park, economic development officials are set to announce tonight.

The announcement will come during a meeting of the Niagara County Legislature's Economic Development Committee - and will take place just feet from the 31-acre site.

The county's foreign trade zone was authorized under a 1970s-era U.S. law that encouraged the creation of specific areas near ports of entry where commercial merchandise would be exempted from customs duties and ad valorem taxes, according to representatives of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. By bringing on a full-time operator, Canadian firm Borderworx Logistics, the county will be able to offer those benefits to companies seeking to do business here.

"International trade is critical for the kinds of businesses that have chosen to operate at Vantage Point," explained the vice chairman of the Economic Development Committee, Legislator Will Collins, R-Lockport. "We need to provide incentives to draw companies here that want to create good local jobs servicing international customers."

The county's foreign trade zone encompasses all lands associated with Vantage International Point, as well as the former Bell Aerospace site in Wheatfield, and 19 acres adjacent to the Niagara Falls International Airport. Under a proposed agreement with Borderworx, the firm will initially operate a foreign trade zone in a 31-acre footprint at Vantage International Point.

Borderworx CEO Dean Wood, who will participate in tonight's Economic Development Committee meeting via live conference, called activating Niagara County's foreign trade zone "welcome and necessary."

"Borderworx is a progressive company that will utilize the FTZ to attract business to the Niagara Region," he said. "This vital tool for cross-border trade will increase business opportunities and create jobs for people within the region. Making a foreign trade zone available to businesses managing their cost of landed goods will draw businesses to use this port over others and, in turn, all the supporting businesses of the facility will also benefit."

County lawmakers will also hear directly from Borderworx Vice President Joel Noel, who will be on-hand at Wednesday's meeting. Collins said he is confident lawmakers will move swiftly to ratify the proposed agreement between the county, its IDA, and Borderworx.

"As a significant port of entry with three border crossings, Niagara County has every reason to extend these kinds of benefits to business that want to work here," Collins said. "Giving our companies the tools to compete is critical to creating an environment that lets them grow and create jobs."

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