Top Ten Facts about Foreign Trade Zones


As we aim to increase the awareness of Foreign Trade Zones and the benefits of such, we’re looking at the top ten most surprising facts about Foreign Trade Zones derived from the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones.

1.      Created in 1934

The foreign trade zone program was originally created in 1934 by Congress to help “expedite and encourage foreign commerce”.  

2.      Value of exports in 2017 was 87 Billion Dollars

3.      Value of imports in 2017 was $669 billion

Includes both imports and exports

 4.      U.S. Custom and Border Protection oversee all operations

As a foreign trade zone are secure areas considered outside of us customer territories for tariff purposes, it is the responsibility of the U.S. Custom and Border Protection department to oversee all operations. In addition, any and all state and local law apply as well.

 5.      Foreign Trade Zones Employ More Than 450,000 American Workers.

Located by ports where increased business activity is conducted, Foreign Trade Zones are the workplace of almost 500,000 American workers.

6.      Over 3,000 companies utilize a Foreign Trade Zone to store and transport goods.

7.      The top three imports to foreign trade zones are oil, vehicles and consumer electronics

These are followed by machinery, pharmaceutical, and textiles, footwear/Clothing, and other metals. Having oil be the top import steams from the 1988 ruling to amend the FTZ Act to include petroleum production in zones.

 8.      Foreign Trade Zone can be composed of production centers or warehousing/distribution centers

The manufacturing center received more than $410 billion in merchandise, while distribution center received in $259 billion.

 9.      Exports from FTZ account for 5.6% of overall us exports

This is an increase from 5.4% in 2016 with the FTZ averaging 4.9% since 2009.

10.  General Motors becomes the first auto assembly plant to receive FTZ status 1977

The Western New York Foreign Trade Zone is proud to be a part to support the overall economic status of the United Staes and we look forward to even more advances on domestic and foreign trade.


Western New York Foreign Trade provides international trade services and is located just minutes from the U.S./Canadian border (within 500 Miles of 55% of the U.S. population and 62% of Canada's population) and is proud to be a part of Lincoln Family of Companies serving the Western New York Community since 1914.