Trade finance association to support NEI.
The Finance, Credit and International Business Association (FCIB) and the U.S. Commercial Service of the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) have signed a memorandum of understanding to increase awareness in the U.S. business community, particularly among small and midsized businesses, about exporting and the tools and resources our organizations provide to help them succeed.
The FCIB and ITA have previously collaborated on publishing the third edition of the ITA's Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters
and the first-ever Spanish-language version of the guide, available soon.
Under the agreement, FCIB and the Commercial Service's network of worldwide offices will work together on marketing, education programs and events to help business, especially smaller firms learn the ropes of exporting to expand their business. Joint activities may include building awareness through outreach at trade shows, direct mail campaigns and online registration for resource support.
The ITA has strategic partnerships with many trade associations, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Association of Port Authorities and the U.S. Council for International Business, as well as companies such as FedEx and UPS that have access to a wide range of customers or members and can use their customer service capabilities to spread the word about federal export assistance programs.
President Obama set an ambitious goal in early 2010 of doubling U.S. exports within five years. The FCIB is part of the National Export Initiative (NEI), which is pulling all resources of the government together to make it easier for companies to learn about and take advantage of federal resources.
Port of San Francisco expands FTZ.
The U.S. Commerce Department last week approved the Port of San Francisco’s application to expand its Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) No. 3 service area to include Contra Costa, Marin and Solano counties, as well as portions of Sonoma and Napa counties.
The previous service area included San Francisco and San Mateo counties.
The FTZ program allows American companies to obtain a more competitive position with respect to their counterparts overseas, and subsidizes job growth by deferring, reducing, or eliminating customs duties paid on imported goods by importers, distributors, manufacturers and processors.
“Foreign Trade Zones are one tool to reduce logistics costs, which translates into savings to a company’s bottom line,” Jim Maloney, maritime marketing manager at the Port of San Francisco, said in a news release. “The FTZ program provides an excellent opportunity for Bay Area businesses to enhance their competitiveness in the global economy.”
The program allows existing and new companies in these counties to secure FTZ site status under the streamlined Alternative Site Framework program within approximately 30 days from when an application is accepted. Without the program the process can take 8-12 months.
A Foreign Trade Zone site is a secured area near a designated customs “port of entry,” and while physically located within the U.S. it is considered outside the U.S. Customs territory. Foreign goods can be brought into FTZs without formal customs entry for manufacturing, testing, assembly, processing, storage, and distribution. Duty payments on imported goods and materials can be reduced or eliminated, or deferred until they leave the designated area and enter U.S. commerce. Goods not entering U.S. commerce for instance re-exports or scrap, are not obligated to pay customs duties.
There are no additional requirements of the counties or cities encompassed by the program. It is an opt-in incentive, managed jointly by the Port of San Francisco, the U.S. Commerece Department of Commerce and Customs and Border Protection, with companies electing whether or not to participate.
To participate in the program, interested businesses will apply through FTZ No. 3. Applications can be found on the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board Website
. - Eric Kulisch