Foreign Trade Zones

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ), sometimes known as Free Trade Zones, are neutral secured areas that for legal purposes are considered outside of U.S. Customs territory.  FTZs offer several economic advantages for businesses involved in international trade.

There are four general purpose FTZs in North Carolina and seven active Sub-Zones approved for use by individual companies.  In addition, all of the zones are transitioning to the Alternative Site Framework (ASF), which greatly simplifies services to users.

Foreign or domestic merchandise may enter these areas without a formal customs entry or the payment of customs duties or government excise taxes and without a thorough examination.

If the final product is exported from the United States, no custom duty is levied. If the final product is imported into the U.S., duty and excise taxes are due at the time of transfer from the foreign trade zone and formal entry is made into the U.S. Duty is paid on the product itself or its imported parts, whichever is lower.

Generally, merchandise is exempt from payment of duty even if it is:

  • Manipulated
  • Used in a manufacturing process
  • Inspected
  • Combined with other domestic or foreign materials
  • Displayed for sale
  • Re-exported

Spoiled or damaged goods or waste materials may be disposed of or re-exported without payment of duty.

Businesses save on personal property and sales and use taxes since state and local governments generally do not impose such taxes on items in the FTZ. Additional savings on interest, labor and shipping costs may also result.

For information on a specific Foreign Trade Zone in North Carolina, please contact:

Zone #57

Charlotte Regional Partnership
550 South Caldwell Street Suite 760 Charlotte, NC 28202
Tel: (704) 347-8942
Fax: (704) 347-8981

Laura K. Foor
Project Manager/Foreign Trade Zone Administrator
(704) 347-8942

Zone #93

The Greater Research Triangle Zone
Triangle J Council of Governments
4307 Emperor Blvd., Suite 110
Durham, N.C. 27703
(919) 558-9403

Renee Boyette, Assistant to the Executive Director
(919) 558-9304

Zone #214

South Eastern North Carolina (SENC)
North Carolina Department of Transportation

Lori Fuller
(919) 707-2815

Zone #230

Piedmont Triad Zone
Piedmont Triad Regional Partnership
416 Gallimore Dairy Road, Suite M
Greensboro, NC 27409
(336) 668-4556 or (800) 668-3749
Fax: (336) 668-3749

Penny Whiteheart, Executive Vice President
(336) 369-2201

For general information about Foreign Trade Zones in North Carolina, contact:

Liz Isley
Partner Relations Manager, Global Business Services
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
15000 Weston Parkway
Cary, NC 27513

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