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4 area counties added to foreign-trade zone

Four northeast Indiana counties – including Steuben – have been added to the area’s foreign-trade zone, Fort Wayne officials announced today.

A foreign trade zone is an area that’s considered a kind of no man’s land. Companies don’t have to pay import duties on incoming raw materials or inventory taxes on outgoing shipments as long as the items are sitting in a foreign trade zone.

Also, companies can import components for assembly, repackaging or relabeling and bypass paying all duties if the final products are exported for sale overseas. Otherwise, companies pay duties and have to wait for government refunds, tying up vital working capital.

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently approved the city’s application for expansion of Foreign-Trade Zone 182 to Blackford, Jay, LaGrange and Steuben counties. Previously, the zone covered eight counties -- Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.

The local trade zone was recently branded BizFTZ. The website, www.bizFTZ.com, links to resources that can help a company understand, evaluate and start the process to operate in the zone.

sslater@jg.net

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