Solano County in new trade zone
Posted in the Napa Forum
#1 May 17, 2013
Solano County in new trade zone
Solano County businesses have a new marketing edge with this week's final approval of the Port of San Francisco's Foreign Trade Zone application to include Vallejo, Benicia and American Canyon, among other areas.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Commerce approved the application filed in January to expand Foreign Trade Zone No. 3 to include "Solano County in its entirety."
It also includes parts of Napa County, including its southernmost point, according to the application.
A foreign-trade zone is a designated area where special rules about taxes apply that are meant to give U.S. firms a competitive edge against "foreign alternatives," the Commerce Department's website says. Petroleum refining is the largest type of industry now benefiting from such zones, but automotive, electronic and pharmaceutical product manufacturing also use them, the site notes.
Jason Keadjian, spokesman for Mare Island's main developer and landlord, Lennar Mare Island, said LMI sees the news as a positive development.
"LMI is committed to pursuing opportunities that have the potential to assist and benefit the Mare Island business community," he said. "We are pleased that the Foreign Trade Zone No. 3 service area has expanded to include Solano County, and we will work with eligible Mare Island businesses to pursue this new opportunity."
The zone's expansion may also attract new business to Mare Island and the Vallejo mainland, besides creating new opportunities for existing local businesses, Keadjian said.
In its application for the expansion, Port of San Francisco authorities said outreach on the issue "identified strong interest" in several counties surrounding San Francisco and San Mateo where the zone was already in force. Besides Solano and Napa, these included Marin, Sonoma and Contra Costa.
The idea of creating a Foreign Trade Zone has been on Vallejo officials' radar for several years.
In 2008, the City Council asked for further information on a General Purpose Foreign Trade Zone or Subzone to link Vallejo to the Port of Oakland and offer an incentive to businesses locating to Vallejo.
Vallejo qualifies as a foreign trade zone area because it's within 60 miles of several U.S. Customs and Border Protection Ports of Entry in San Francisco and Sacramento.
Though City Manager Dan Keen and other city officials said this week they're unfamiliar with the issue, in 2007, then economic development director Susan McCue said the designation could bring more jobs to Vallejo. She said it would encourage companies dealing in foreign goods to operate in the zone, where they would not have to pay customary shipping or storage taxes. McCue said then that pursuing the application could take a year and cost $100,000 if the city hired a consultant.
Vallejo Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rich Curtola said the news sounds like a piece of good fortune.
"There are so many interesting opportunities arising right now that we have been hoping and waiting for for several years since this horrible economic downturn. It's not a coincidence that the sun, moon and stars seem to be aligning for Vallejo," Curtola said. "This news is exciting and I look forward to the opportunities our community will be able to take advantage of because of this decision."
#2 May 17, 2013
Sunga was bashed repeatedly by the VIBsters for advocating for this designation. Now here it is. ESAD, Gomers!!
#3 May 17, 2013
thank you to hermie sunga for helping to get this designation. we will have a much better chance of business growth in vallejo and the region.
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