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Area Foreign Trade Zone expanded to all of St. Louis City, County

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)
St. Louis mayor Francis Slay at a press conference regarding the expansion of the region's Foreign Trade Zone to include all of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

St. Louis city and St. Louis County officials say they've gotten federal approval that will help local companies compete in the global market. The area's Foreign Trade Zone has expanded to include all of St. Louis County and City.

The expanded zone will allow more local manufacturing and distribution companies to import goods duty-free and avoid other customs fees.

Mayor Francis Slay announced the expansion at Sunset Transportation in south St. Louis. Slay says the approval from the US Department of Commerce also streamlines the time it takes for businesses to qualify.

"The turnaround time for designation will be about a month instead of a year and that time will save money and improve the bottom line for businesses like this one," Slay said.

The region's Foreign Trade Zone was previously centered around 800 acres near Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

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