Press Release

At Gillibrand’s Urging, Feds Approve Effort To Boost Ontario County’s Exports

Mar 10, 2014

Geneva, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of President Obama’s Export Council, today announced the U.S. Commerce Department approved Ontario County’s application for its Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) program, which would encourage more companies with import and export operations across the region to take advantage of associated tax breaks and incentives. 

Senator Gillibrand called on the Commerce Department to make this FTZ designation for Ontario County and the surrounding area after touring the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park last summer.

“The Finger Lakes Region is well positioned to grow its exports and spark innovative ideas to jumpstart new businesses here where we need them the most,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This new designation will encourage and equip more local businesses to better compete in the global economy. I will use my seat on the President’s Export Council to work with Commerce Secretary Pritzker, to ensure that Finger Lakes businesses have the tools they need to succeed and thrive.”  

Trade continues to grow in the Greater Rochester region. In 2011, trade accounted for $5.5 billion in annual merchandise shipments, a 7.4 percent increase from the year before. On a per?capita basis, the Greater Rochester Region ranks 23rd among top exporting regions, with top sectors including chemicals, computer and electronic products, machinery and food products. Top trade partners include Canada, China, Mexico, Germany and the UK.

In her letter to Commerce Secretary Pritzker, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “This designation would allow for important incentives that could reduce the cost of doing business for participating companies, increase their competitiveness, and help them access new exporting opportunities. The FTZ designation will also minimize the need for businesses to shift their operations to foreign countries to be nearer to emerging markets, keeping more jobs in the United States.”

FTZ benefits include waiving a portion of federal taxes for goods coming into an FTZ zone, reduced costs for assembling or manufacturing products in the region before shipping to foreign markets, and lower custom fees on products made with imported materials.

Among all regions with FTZs in New York State, Rochester is home to some of the greatest amount of actively participating firms at 74, representing 62.4 percent of the firms participating in New York’s FTZs. Rochester’s FTZ receives approximately $224.3 million in merchandise annually, ranking it as the third largest import receiver in New York State.

As a member of the President’s Export Council, Senator Gillibrand is working to ensure that small businesses and entrepreneurs are able to grow their businesses by accessing new markets for their products and services through expanding their exporting opportunities.  The President’s Export Council is the nation’s primary advisory committee on international trade. The council makes recommendations to the President on matters relating to U.S. export trade by conducting surveys and evaluating the expansion practices of the communities represented by its members.