Suffolk County touts expansion of foreign trade zone

Suffolk County has doubled the participation in its expanding foreign trade zone program with the recent addition of one of Long Island’s biggest manufacturers.

Hauppauge-based LNK International, a pharmaceutical firm that employs more than 1,000 people here, is the latest company to take advantage of the county’s foreign trade zone benefits.

LNK joins Advanced Optowave Corporation in Ronkonkoma and Medford-based AMC Technology in qualifying for designation in the foreign trade zone this year.

The foreign trade zone program is regulated by the U.S. Department of Commerce whose companies operate under the supervision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Inclusion in the program allows companies engaged in import/export activities the opportunity to defer, reduce or eliminate tariffs on merchandise located within a foreign trade zone.

Foreign Trade Zone #52, established in 1979, is the only FTZ on Long Island, and one of more than 200 across the U.S. The Town of Islip Foreign Trade Zone Authority located at MacArthur Airport, which acts as a magnet site, was established in 1981.

Before 2013, companies that wanted to get FTZ benefits had to be located within a specific designated area. But Suffolk was able to establish an alternate site framework that allowed companies to establish the FTZ designation at their existing locations.

Regina Zara, Suffolk’s director of business development and marketing, said the program is free for qualifying firms.

“We’re here for the businesses in the county,” Zara told LIBN. “We could charge a fee, but we don’t. The value is in keeping our companies here.”

Other firms already in the FTZ program include Estee Lauder, Marchon Eyewear, and International Warehouse Group. In 2017, the total value of shipments in Suffolk’s FTZ was more than $19.9 million and Zara anticipates that number to grow with more companies participating.

“We’re looking to get the word out to other companies that may benefit from this program,” Zara said.

Originally posted December 18, 2018 by David Winzelberg for Long Island Business News