FTZ employment also set a new record in 2014, with 420,000 jobs reported, representing a 7.7 percent increase over 2013 – far outpacing the overall U.S. employment growth of 1.9 percent.
“The FTZ Board’s latest report confirms that the program continues to be a vital component of America’s trade policy,” said Daniel Griswold, president of the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones. “The competitive advantage for companies operating in an FTZ has enabled them to boost their exports and employment to record levels, continuing their strong contribution to America’s economic recovery.”
Foreign-status inputs to FTZs totaled $288.3bn in 2014, accounting for 12.1 percent of all U.S. goods imports. FTZ imports have tripled as a share of U.S. imports over the past two decades.
Imported oil continues to decline in relative importance in FTZ activity. In 2014, petroleum accounted for 51 percent of FTZ imports, the lowest share since 1996. Other, non-oil FTZ imports, such as industrial components and consumer goods, reached a record 5.9 percent of total U.S. imports in 2014.
“Foreign-trade zones continue to be hubs of manufacturing activity where domestic and foreign-sourced inputs are combined by American workers on U.S. soil to produce value-added final products for export and domestic consumption,” said Griswold. “Key U.S. industries depend on the FTZ program to remain competitive. But we can do even better. U.S. Customs should take every step to fully integrate FTZs into the Automated Commercial Environment as soon as possible to ensure that U.S. FTZ manufacturing operations can take full advantage of global supply chains.”
There were 179 active FTZs during 2014, with a total of 311 active production operations; 2,700 firms used FTZs during the year. The FTZ Board processed 57 applications for new or expanded production authority in 2014, and reorganized 18 zones under the alternative site framework (ASF).
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The National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones is a trade association of more than 600 members representing public and private organizations involved in the foreign-trade zones program.
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