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ABQ Metro Takes Another Step Towards Regional Transportation Hub

City opens its Foreign Trade Zone to the region

February 2, 2017

Albuquerque, NM— Today Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry announced that the City of Albuquerque has made it drastically easier and less expensive for companies in much of Central New Mexico to utilize the City’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), which is currently located on a 62-acre site at the Albuquerque International Sunport.   The City has received approval from the Federal Foreign Trade Zone Board to reorganize under the Alternative Site Framework (ASF).  Under ASF, the City negotiated a service area that includes all of Bernalillo and Valencia counties, and the cities of Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Moriarty, and Santa Fe. 

Prior to the reorganization, FTZ #110 could only be utilized if a company physically conducted its operations at the airport or if it applied for a Subzone Designation, a minimum 6-month process that included tens of thousands of dollars in legal and application fees.  Now, any company located within the newly designated service area can apply for a status equivalent to a Subzone, but in as few as 30 days and at a fraction of the cost.  

“We are excited to make this tool more accessible to manufacturers throughout the region,” said Mayor Berry. “Companies that utilize the FTZ can greatly improve their cash flow by avoiding paying tariffs on imported materials until the final product is sold, and in many cases, can avoid having to pay them altogether.”

The City of Albuquerque filed its application for reorganization shortly after Mayor Berry announced a new public/private regional partnership in March of last year.  Under the regional partnership, the Mid-Region Council of Governments commissioned a feasibility study to look at Central New Mexico’s existing transportation infrastructure, business climate, and competitiveness to pursue international transportation, logistics, and manufacturing as an economic development strategy to grow and diversify the region’s economy.

“We launched the feasibility study last March, but very quickly into the process we uncovered some immediate projects we could start pursuing,” said Mayor Berry. “There was no reason to wait until the study was completed to get to work on low-hanging fruit like our FTZ.”

In addition to the specific benefits now available to individual companies within the service area, the reorganized FTZ will also play a role in the region’s economic development recruitment efforts.  Projects such as the Central New Mexico Rail Park in Valencia County, which recently made headlines when Bernalillo County authorized up to a $400k cross-county investment, can now offer on-site FTZ capabilities which is likely a minimum requirement for the type of industry that would be interested in relocating to the park.  

“This is an important step towards helping our existing manufacturing base to grow, in addition to becoming a more attractive location to recruit new companies,” added Albuquerque Economic Development Director, Gary Oppedahl.

The City of Albuquerque will be hosting an in-depth informational seminar for local companies and economic developers at 8:00am on May 4th at the CNM Workforce Training Center.  To RSVP or request a private consultation, please contact Randy Trask at [email protected].

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A Foreign Trade Zone is defined as an isolated area adjacent to an international port of entry where industry can store, repack, sort, mix, or perform value added manufacturing with foreign goods without being subject to import duties (taxes).  Albuquerque’s Foreign Trade Zone #110 was granted to the City of Albuquerque Aviation Department in 1984.

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