Jefferson County Gets Big Economic Boost


The Watertown International Airport, a local company and other parts of Jefferson County are bound to see a big a jump in economic development thanks to changes in something called 'Foreign Trade Zone', or FTZ.

If a company is located within an FTZ, it gets tax breaks on the products it imports and exports overseas.

It also eliminates delays which come with waiting for Customs clearance on products.

The Foreign Trade Zones Board has approved Jefferson County's request to reorganize its FTZ.

Now included in the FTZ are:

- the County Corporate Park on Coffeen Street
- the City Center Industrial Park off Arsenal Street
- the Watertown International Airport on Route 12F near Dexter

Here's the catch: just because a company is inside a Foreign Trade Zone, it doesn't mean it automatically qualifies for FTZ benefits.

For example, North American Tapes, a Watertown manufacturer of athletic tape, is already in an FTZ.

It had to apply for FTZ benefits and is still awaiting approval.

The business has been seeking Foreign Trade Zone status because the company would save $13,000 a month on import taxes.

Earlier this month, north country Congressman Bill Owens and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer called on the federal government to 'move quickly' on granting the company FTZ status.

(See our earlier report)

Meanwhile, this news could benefit the Watertown International Airport.

According to Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency CEO Donald Alexander, development at the airport could also be spurred by its inclusion in the zone.

"It's been our goal to develop a new corporate park at the airport," he said.  "In our global economy, it could be very attractive for a logistics or manufacturing company to enjoy the benefits of a Foreign Trade Zone, with the ability to step out the door and catch a flight to anywhere in the world through our new hub connection with the American Airlines terminal in Chicago."

See the news release about the FTZ

Friday, December 9, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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