St. Louis officials announce broader trade zone
By Mandi Rice, St. Louis Public Radio
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City and County executives are working together to make it easier for area businesses to export their goods.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley co-signed a request Monday to broaden the area's Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ).
If approved, the FTZ would include all of St. Louis City and County. Companies within the zone could apply to lower their Customs duties, or avoid paying them entirely, according to Scott Taylor, an expert in Foreign-Trade Zones.
"Every existing manufacturer, every existing warehouse that has transfers of goods into and out of the country will now be eligible through a much expedited process to achieve this status and therefore save on their foreign duties," Taylor said.
The application process used to take almost a year. Under the new FTZ rules, wait time could be reduced to one month.
Officials say the FTZ expansion could also help in efforts to bring a Chinese cargo hub to St. Louis.
"One of the things that will help make that work is our ability to export our Midwest stuff over to China," Slay said. "This will make that easier to do and will make our efforts more competitive."
The Department of Commerce is expected to approve the trade zone request in six to eight months.