PortMiami wants free trade zones (FTZ’s) throughout Miami-Dade county.

As we know, PortMiami is currently dredging to 50 feet in pursuit of the post Panamax ships, and wants to prepare for the massive amounts of cargo PortMiami looks forward to receiving as a result of the dredging project.  In preparation, PortMiami is looking to the South Florida business community to get engaged and prepared as well.

Under PortMiami’s plan, any business north of Southwest Eighth Street could apply for free-trade status (under FTZ 281) and be exempt from import duties (for example, for cargo heading abroad). There are many benefits to an FTZ, ultimately resulting in duty savings.

The Miami Herald reported that PortMiami’s application is expected to receive approval by the summer (UPDATE – PortMiami has officially been approved and operates FTZ 281), which will allow local businesses the opportunity to apply for foreign-trade zone status, enabling them to utilize their FTZ for duty savings, as goods shipped into a FTZ that are destined for export are exempt from paying CBP duties.  Many companies use South Florida as a transhipment hub, purchasing goods from China, using South Florida as a distribution center, and then selling those goods to customers in South America.  Using a FTZ saves the importer from having to pay customs duties on imports for exports.

The Beacon Council – Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership – has coined trade/logistics and aviation as two of the ‘seven pillars’ of Miami-Dade County in the One Community, One Goal (OCOG) initiative. The others include International Banking & Finance, Education, Creative Design, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, and Life Sciences & Health Care.

In 2010, Miami-Dade County had $95,380,550,601 in International Trade revenue (both import and export). Wholesale trade alone accounts for 9,383 businesses in Miami-Dade County, employing 62,407 people with an average salary of $64,984. With these proposed FTZ expansions, these numbers are only going to grow… If you want to take advantage and get your application in for your FTZ, please contact Jen Diaz at (305) 260-1053 or by email at JDiaz@bplegal.com.