Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Urge Commerce Department To Reorganize Foreign Trade Zone Application Process For Oneida County

Apr 25, 2016

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the U.S. Commerce Department to approve Oneida County’s application to reorganize under the Alternative Site Framework (ASF) application process, which would allow more businesses in the region to benefit from duty savings. Reorganization under the ASF would allow Oneida County businesses to tap into duty savings opportunities in the Mohawk Valley Region by streamlining the process for businesses to apply for foreign trade zone (FTZ) duty free benefits. Currently, businesses in Oneida County face a lengthy and complex application process. To remain competitive, and advance economic development, Schumer and Gillibrand are urging to streamline the process through the ASF to sustain manufacturing jobs and cover new investments in electronics and nanotechnology in the region. The new streamlined process will give Oneida County the speed and flexibility to assign space anywhere in the County within 30 days.

“With a less bureaucratic morass to wade through, companies with operations at the Marcy Nanocenter and Griffiss Technology Park could more easily take advantage of the reduced import duties that an FTZ offers. This would not only allow our Mohawk Valley businesses to stay competitive, but also pour this money right back into their business in the form of expanded production and create new jobs,” said Senator Schumer. “We should be making it easier for our local companies to succeed, not harder. So I’m urging the Department of Commerce to approve Oneida’s proposal to open up these flexible FTZ benefits to more sites throughout the county. This is an opportunity to reverse the trend of losing good-paying, middle-class jobs to countries like China, and actually in-source jobs to Oneida County; it’s an opportunity that cannot be delayed any longer.”

“We must equip local businesses with tools to better compete in the global economy. Streamlining the process through the Alternative Site Framework, provides local businesses with the opportunity to grow exports and jumpstart businesses,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the President’s Export Council. “This is a smart change that improves a burdensome process, supporting the Mohawk Valley Region’s economic development and the growth of thriving industries in Oneida County.”


Within the Syracuse Port and Customs & Border Protection District, the Foreign Trade Zone Board has given Oneida County the authority to establish, operate and maintain a Foreign-Trade Zone General-Purpose Zone sites and Subzones within the county. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that Oneida County is applying to amend this authority to include two new Magnet sites, Marcy Nano Center at SUNY IT and Griffiss Business and Technology Park(fix period). Reorganizing under the ASF to add these two Magnet sites will assist in concentrating efforts of the local economic developers on key sites within the County and provide added incentive to grow nanotechnology jobs in the Mohawk Valley.


Schumer and Gillibrand said the Marcy Nano Center at SUNY IT has been identified as a world-class location for nanoelectronics manufacturing in Mohawk Valley. In 2015, AG ams announced it what constructing a 500,000 square-foot water fabrication facility at the Marcy Nanocenter that will bring thousands of jobs over the coming years. By designating this area as a Magnet site, AG ams will be able to utilize Foreign Trade Zone benefits. It is also expected that other companies located at Quad C, the first phase of the Marcy Nanocenter, will also wish to make use of the Foreign Trade Zone procedures. The Senator’s noted that reorganizing under the Alternative Site Framework will provide a faster, cheaper application process and greater levels of certainty for companies that could benefit from the FTZ program. Extending the County’s FTZ to cover these new investments would help the region sustain good-paying manufacturing jobs through duty reduction savings.


Full text of the Senators’ joint letter is included below:


Mr. Andrew McGilvray

Executive Secretary

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

U.S. Department of Commerce

1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Room 21015

Washington, D.C. 20230


Dear Mr. McGilvray,


We write in support of Oneida County’s application to the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board for Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) #172 to reorganize under the Alternative Site Framework (ASF). Oneida County’s FTZ #172 currently consists of six active general-purpose zone sites and one deactivated subzone. Approval of this application would allow Oneida County businesses to tap into duty savings opportunities throughout the region by streamlining the process for businesses to apply for FTZ benefits and creating FTZ magnet sites.


Oneida County is located in the heart of the Mohawk Valley Region of upstate New York, an area currently undergoing an economic transformation due to investments in nanotechnology and electronics manufacturing. Extending the County’s FTZ to cover these new investments would help the region sustain good-paying manufacturing jobs through duty reduction savings.


The current Traditional Site Framework used by Oneida County’s FTZ burdens businesses with a lengthy and complex application process, which has led many to shy away from FTZ benefits. If approved, this application would grant businesses in magnet sites immediate FTZ benefits and give Oneida County the ability to designate usage-driven sites anywhere within the County within 30 days for warehouse/distribution activities and 120 days for production activities rather than the current subzone application process, which can take seven months or longer. To remain competitive with other locations, Oneida County and its economic development organizations understand that time is often a key element to the success of businesses in today’s economy. The speed and flexibility of ASF for FTZ #172 would be a critical component to economic development efforts throughout Oneida County.


Thank you for your attention to this issue. We ask that you please give this application your full consideration. 




Charles E. Schumer                                                                

United States Senator


Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator