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HTL Region Now Home to Foreign Trade Zone Industrial Parks

October 17, 2012

Ten Sites in West Tennessee Designated Foreign Trade Zone by Federal Board

Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority designated FTZ 283

The United States Foreign Trade Zone Board announced the approval of a new Grant of Authority for West Tennessee. This new designation will allow for existing and new companies to utilize the assets of being located in a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). There are a total of ten sites that have been designated in West Tennessee. The Port of Cates Landing and its industrial area in Lake County, and the Memphis Mega Site located in Haywood County are two of the ten sites. Other industrial parks that are now designated are in: Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, Lauderdale, Madison, Obion, and Tipton Counties.

The newest zone approved by Washington in West Tennessee is number 283. Companies who activate their facilities will be able to use the zone benefits to reduce costs and speed delivery of products to their facility and to customers domestically and internationally.

All sites approved through this ruling are general purpose in nature. This designation allows companies to use their FTZ status and warehouses to store and perform minor manipulation of goods within the zone. If a company chooses to manufacture within a zone, they do need to seek enhanced authority through an additional application process. This designation will dramatically simplify the application process for additional designations and compress the timeframe significantly for additional approval.

The Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority sponsored the application and is the Grantee of FTZ 283, while the West Tennessee Industrial Association oversaw the preparation and review process by the FTZ Board in Washington. WTIA will serve as the administrator, overseeing day to day activities as well as working with the companies to help them understand and use FTZ procedures.

Jimmy Williamson, Chairman of the Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority, thanked the Tennessee congressional delegation, the FTZ Board, West Tennessee Industrial Association and all the participating organizations for their cooperation and support during the application process. “Having a Foreign Trade Zone designation at the port and throughout West Tennessee will aid companies in being more competitive in the global marketplace. The Port of Cates Landing will continue to be a catalyst for economic development, jobs and new investment throughout the region,” said Williamson.

Mike Philpot, Executive Director of WTIA, echoed Williamson’s statement and urged companies to contact his office if they have any questions about the FTZ program. He indicated WTIA would be providing informational sessions periodically to update companies.

“Our companies are never going to be any less global, and by participating in the Foreign Trade Zone program, our communities can better compete and perform in the global marketplace,” said Philpot.
The application process was initiated by the West Tennessee Industrial Association over three years ago. Initially only the Port of Cates Landing and the Memphis Mega Site were going to apply for the designation.

“After we began the application process with the assistance of Michael C. Michalski of MCS Strategies, we realized that our application became even more viable if we could include other potential sites throughout the region,” said Philpot. A total of ten sites were ultimately identified and placed into the application. By participating in the FTZ application, rural communities in West Tennessee will now be able to offer the same logistical and competitive advantages to their industries as one would find in Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta, New York or Los Angeles.

West Tennessee joins Memphis, Nashville, Clarksville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and the Tri-Cities in taking advantage of this program.