Foreign trade zones are a great tool for companies manufacturing in the United States. Montana is no exception and uses FTZ’s to its advantage.
What is a Foreign Trade Zone?
A Foreign Trade Zone or FTZ is an area located near a Customs port of entry that is considered outside of Customs territory. Inside of a FTZ, goods imported from another country can be stored without being subjected to Customs duties until they leave the FTZ to be entered into the commerce of the United States.
Companies manufacturing products inside of the United States may choose to operate inside of a Foreign Trade Zone because duties can sometimes be reduced when importing a fully assembled product. Companies who are importing goods and then exporting them may also choose to operate inside of an FTZ. This allows companies to import goods, assemble them, and then export finished goods without paying US Customs duties and taxes.
Foreign Trade Zones in Montana
It may seem farfetched, but there are FTZ’s located in Montana. In fact, there are currently three Foreign Trade Zones located in Montana.
- FTZ No. 88 Great Falls
Great Falls, located in North central Montana is a designated Foreign Trade Zone. The nearest point of entry is the Great Falls Airport. Great Falls is located on I-15 between Calgary and Salt Lake City along the BNSF railroad. Agritech Park is Great Falls economic development center and is where the FTZ is utilized in the area. The park has a large amount of development potential with 197 acres of property right on the BNSF railroad.
- FTZ No. 187 Toole County
Toole County is located in North Central Montana and the county is a Foreign Trade Zone. Toole County includes the Sweetgrass Port of Entry from Canada. The Port of Northern Montana in Shelby Montana is located in the Toole County FTZ and has access to the BNSF railroad.
- FTZ No. 274 Butte-Silver Bow
Butte-Silver Bow County is the most active FTZ in Montana. The closest port of entry is the Butte Airport. Inside the FTZ, the Port of Montana operates under the supervision of Customs and Border Protection. The Port of Montana is the only FTZ general purpose warehouse within a five-state radius in the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. The port is located at the intersection of I-15 and I-90 and has access to both the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads.
Future FTZ in Bozeman
In 2017, Simms Fishing products announced they would be moving their warehouse and shipping services from Bozeman to Seattle because of their Foreign Trade Zone located there and the more efficient distribution channels. After this big move, Bozeman’s Chamber of Commerce announced that it would consider making Bozeman a Foreign Trade Zone. No updates have been announced since late 2017, but the creation of an FTZ in Bozeman would benefit the 60 Montana manufacturing companies located in Gallatin County. This potentially could allow manufacturers in Bozeman to manufacture products without collecting Customs duties and taxes on shipments outside the U.S.