About a year ago, we noticed a trend in our project pipeline. We received more and more inquiries from expanding companies about Salt Lake City’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ).

We deduced that the national conversation around trade following the 2016 presidential election was driving this uptick. Many companies in the manufacturing and distribution sectors sought to limit their trans-national tax exposure and were actively looking for real estate opportunities in markets with a great workforce and an established FTZ.

As you may know, Salt Lake City has been operating Foreign Trade Zone #30 for many years; however, it has been under the traditional site framework. This older framework allowed companies to take advantage of the FTZ, but it was not as permissive as the alternative site framework. For those of you not familiar with the FTZ, in short, it allows companies to import goods into the U.S., value-add to them, and re-export them duty-free. It also allows companies to hold goods in the FTZ duty-free until they are sold into the U.S. market, thus helping companies with their cash-flow.

Due to this uptick in project activity, our key partners realized it was an opportune time to transition SLC’s FTZ #30 to the alternative site framework. EDCUtah joined Salt Lake City, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the World Trade Center of Utah to push this forward. Becca Haynie from our team and Ben Kolander from SLC carried a lot of water over the last 9 months to go through the process to transition the FTZ, and we recently received great news; our application was approved! See this link for more information: http://www.slcgov.com/salt-lake-city%E2%80%99s-foreign-trade-zone-30-receives-new-alternative-site-framework-status-%E2%80%93-makes

The transition does a few key things: 1) it significantly reduces the administrative burden on companies seeking to operate in the FTZ, and 2) it expands the geography of the FTZ.

As a statewide organization, we are enthusiastic this new framework allows the FTZ designation to cover much of Northern Utah, spanning all or portions of Utah, Tooele, Davis, Weber, Morgan, Box Elder, Summit, Cache, and Salt Lake Counties. This new designation presents great business opportunities for existing and expanding traded-sector companies and we are happy to have yet another tool in our toolkit.