Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Commerce Department Approves Foreign Trade Zone Application for Townsend Leather in Fulton County

Feb 26, 2016

Fulton, N.Y. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of President Obama’s Export Council, today announced the U.S. Commerce Department approved Townsend Leather’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. Townsend Leather, located in Fulton County, specializes in creating high-quality leathers for aviation, hospitality, residential, yachting and other specialty-end uses.

“The Commerce Department’s Foreign Trade Zone Program provides local businesses with the opportunity to grow exports and jumpstart businesses in our local communities where we need them the most,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This is an investment in the longevity of New York’s economic growth; and we must equip local businesses like Townsend Leather with tools to better compete in the global economy.”

“Townsend Leather is excited for the opportunity to become a Foreign-Trade Zone,” says Tim Beckett, Senior Vice President for Townsend Leather. “The FTZ allows us to control costs on our raw material. These savings will help offset the rising costs of health insurance, minimum wage increases and NYS taxes so we can continue to invest back into our people.”

“We are excited to have Townsend as part of the Capital Region Foreign-Trade Zone,” said Sean Maguire, Director of Economic Development for the Capital District Regional Planning Commission.  “As a well-established local manufacturer, Townsend represents the type of business that we’re interested in having in the program.  We expect that this FTZ designation will open new opportunities for Townsend right here at home.”


Townsend’s products are sold and marketed all over the world. Its core customers includes Fortune 500 companies, celebrities, and Heads of States. The family owned business with over 140 employees manages the manufacturing process from start to finish, from the initial consultation through design and pattern making, cutting and finishing, to final delivery of the product at their facility in upstate New York.

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.