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The FTZ now includes Contra Costa, Marin and Solano counties, as well as portions of Sonoma and Napa counties. The previous service area was limited to San Francisco and San Mateo counties. The expansion allows companies in those areas to secure FTZ site status under the Commerce Department's streamlined Alternative Site Framework program, which processes requests within 30 days of accepting an application. Without the program, the port said, the process can take between eight and 12 months. Foreign trade zones are secured areas near designated Customs "ports of entry." While physically located within the U.S., they are considered outside the U.S. Customs territory. Foreign goods can be brought into FTZs without formal Customs entry for manufacturing, testing, assembly, processing, storage and distribution. Duty payments on imported goods and materials can be reduced, deferred or eliminated.
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