Geneva, NY – After touring the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of President Obama’s Export Council, today urged the U.S. Commerce Department to approve 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.
“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 would 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 FTZ distinction will allow OCEDC to collaborate with the five neighboring counties of Livingston, Steuben, Yates, Seneca and Wayne to assist local companies in growing their businesses by expanding into international markets. 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 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 since February, 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.
Full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter is below:
Dear Secretary Pritzker,
I write in support of the application submitted by the Ontario County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC) to the Foreign-Trade Zones Designation Program (FTZ) through the United States Department of Commerce. This distinction will allow OCEDC to provide support to help local businesses expand opportunities to export their goods and services.
The OCEDC is an organization devoted to fostering increased economic activity in local communities throughout the Ontario County region. The OCEDC’s efforts include actively marketing the county to businesses and facilitating capital investment that contributes to the creation of jobs in the region. OCEDC has identified multiple businesses in the area that could benefit from the FTZ designation, further growing opportunities to expand business operations and create jobs.
This FTZ distinction will allow OCEDC to collaborate with the five neighboring counties of Livingston, Steuben, Yates, Seneca and Wayne to assist local companies in growing their businesses by expanding into international markets. 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.
I ask that you please give this application your full consideration. If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact my staff member Jon Cardinal at (202) 224-4451.