Fast facts about foreign trade zones
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• Foreign trade zones in the United States allow businesses to avoid or delay paying import fees on raw materials and other goods.
• All 50 states and Puerto Rico have such zones.
• Nationwide, there are about 250 general purpose zones and 450 subzones, although many are inactive.
• The biggest user of the foreign trade zone program is the oil refining industry. Other major sectors include the automotive, pharmaceutical and machinery/equipment sectors. No retail trade is allowed in foreign trade zones.
• Roughly 320,000 people are employed at some 2,400 companies operating under the program.
• A little more than $534 billion in goods came into the zones nationwide in the latest fiscal year, including $263.3 million in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Source: Foreign Trade-Zones Board annual report, year ended Sept. 30, 2010
First Published March 20, 2012 12:00 am