Bonded Warehouse and Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) may be used as duty saving tools. Miami is known as the gateway to Latin America, where merchandise from Asia is transshipped through Miami, warehoused and distributed, and sent to its ultimate destination in Latin America. In these instances, merchandise transiting through Miami via a bonded warehouse or FTZ does not incur customs duties.

What is a Bonded Warehouse?

A Bonded Warehouse is a customs regulated warehouse which must comply with strict CBP requirements. There are 11 classes of bonded warehouses. In order to become a bonded warehouse, a detailed application must be filed and background checks approved by U.S. Customs. Customs entry must still be filed for merchandise in, or transiting through a bonded warehouse. Duties are deferred until goods technically enter the United States for consumption, or are deferred altogether if exported.

What is a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)?

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs), although technically within the geographic limits of the U.S., are considered outside U.S. Customs territory. Foreign and domestic merchandise may be admitted into an FTZ for operations such as storage, exhibition, assembly, manufacture, redistribution, processing, and more. FTZs allow users to defer, reduce, or eliminate Customs duties.
For example, in South Florida, companies have multiple options. One is the Miami Free Zone, a fully functioning general-purpose FTZ. Otherwise, locally, companies can use their own warehouse locations with the Alternative Site Framework (ASF) FTZ program in place with the Miami Free Zone (FTZ 32), PortMiami (FTZ 281) and the City of Fort Lauderdale (FTZ 241).

What are the main differences between Bonded Warehouses and FTZs?

Customs Bonded Warehouses and FTZs have numerous differences that must be considered before you make your choice. An FTZ is considered outside of U.S. Customs territory; whereas, a bonded warehouse is within the U.S. Customs territory. Customs entry is made at the time goods enter the bonded warehouse, but not the FTZ. In the FTZ, entry is only made when the goods enter the U.S. for consumption. The range of permitted activities in a bonded warehouse is restricted, depending on the class of approval you request. The bonded warehouse option also necessitates a Customs bond when merchandise is admitted to the bonded warehouse. Merchandise may remain in the FTZ for an unlimited period of time, while time in a bonded warehouse is limited to five years.

The following detailed chart goes through the many differences between a bonded warehouse and foreign trade zone:

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How can Diaz Trade Law Help?

Diaz Trade Law can assist you in deciding which option works best and will provide the best savings opportunity for your company. Diaz Trade Law has vast experience in successfully navigating the detailed application process and assisting companies in applying to U.S. Customs for both bonded warehouses and to Port Miami’s FTZ No. 281.