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More than 100 attendees learned the benefits, costs, best practices and processes of operating business in a foreign trade zone at Port Houston’s foreign trade zone conference August 24.

Port Houston manages Foreign Trade Zone #84, which includes many privately owned and port-owned sites located throughout the Houston region and Harris County, Texas. Currently, FTZ #84 contains 9 magnet sites, 26 general purpose zones and 13 traditional subzones.

State Senator Paul Bettencourt and Attorney Sam Webb of Cox Law Firm discussed the Texas economy and the impact of foreign trade zones. “FTZs are essential policy to promote manufacturing and exports,” the senator said.

Texas is the top state for FTZ activity in regards to merchandise received and exports. A total value of $660 billion was received into active FTZs in 2015, noted an Ernest and Young Global Trade representative.

FTZs allow for distribution, storage, repackaging, testing and inspection, assembly, repair and manufacturing. No duty is paid if merchandise is exported directly from the zone.

“FTZs help encourage activity and value-added at U.S. facilities,” said Camille Evans, senior analyst at the U.S. Foreign Trade Zones Board.

The event was held at the Hilton Houston Post Oak Hotel.

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