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July 10, 2013

County getting into new 'zone'?

GREENVILLE — A new resolution should generate more big business growth in Hunt County, according to Hunt County Judge John Horn.

The Hunt County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday unanimously a resolution to include Hunt County within the service area of Foreign Trade Zone 39.

“I truly believe the opportunities being invested in Foreign Trade Zone 39 and how it broadens the spectrum of marketability of Hunt County, and will give us the opportunity to go market the larger companies,” he said.

Although this is the first time being included in a Foreign Trade Zone has been discussed in detail, it isn’t a new concept. The idea was implemented in the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934, which was designed to foster foreign commerce in the United States. 

The resolution will take between six and nine months to approve at the federal level, but after 45 days Hunt County will be given a temporary approval pending the formal approval.

Greg Sims, president of the Greenville Board of Development, said it would positively effect Greenville and Hunt County because “It puts us in better light when we have these economic development tools in our community.”

Christina Wood, with the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, said Foreign Trade Zone 39 levels the playing field for businesses competing worldwide.

“The company and their faciliy are treated as outside U.S. Customs,” she said. “So businesses really are on equal footing with other companies outside the United States.”

Woods listed what she saw as benefits that Hunt County business could take advantage of, including no duty on imports until they leave the zone for a domestic destination, no local personal property tax on imported inventory or inventory held for export, and logistical and process savings.

“This will help generate economic development in the region,” she said.

There is no fee to the county for being included in FTZ 39, Wood said. The only fees would be to the companies who set up an FTZ.

“Companies who do want to set up the Foreign Trade Zone do pay an application fee and an annual fee to the airport,” she said.

Sims said Hunt County as a whole is in a unique position to flourish in the years to come.

“I believe whole-heartedly that we have one of the best opportunities to bring industry to north Texas and Hunt County needs to be where that’s at,” he said. “The more businesses you get to come the more employment, the more houses, the more retail; it all falls together.”

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