HAGERSTOWN, MD — The Foreign Trade Zone that applies to Washington County is being restructured.  Proponents say it’s a way to encourage international commerce and increase investment in the county.  Opponents say it may add more warehousing to the landscape of the county.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners had sought the move to increase efficiencies in the way imported goods are processed and duty fees assessed as they move through the county.
A press release from the county explains the process:
Foreign Trade Zone #255 (FTZ #255), was established in 2002. Duty fees can be reduced, deferred, and, in some cases, exempt, on imported goods. FTZ #255 was originally structured under a General-Purpose Traditional Site Framework.
On October 24, 2023, the United States Department of Commerce, The Foreign-Trade Zones Board, approved Washington County, MD’s application to restructure under the Alternative Site Framework (ASF). A process that began in the 4th quarter 2022. FTZ #255 consists of five zones and one subzone. It encompasses 2,000 acres of already existing industrial property throughout the county.
John Barr, president of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners says, “ASF designation represents one component of on-going efforts by the Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) to encourage international commerce and increase employment and investment in Washington County, MD. The streamlined procedures and processing times afforded by the ASF framework will contribute to the County’s efforts to attract new businesses and to encourage existing businesses in Washington County to take advantage of the Foreign Trade Zone program.”
“As every aspect of business grows more competitive, Foreign Trade Zones are becoming an important strategic tool for businesses sourcing their supply chains from or operating in an international environment,” says Jonathan Horowitz, Director for the Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development. “FTZ communities are highly sought after by manufacturing, logistics, life sciences, retail, automotive, electronics, technology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, aerospace, defense, oil, and gas, as well as the textiles and apparel industries. We look forward to utilizing this new tool in the creation of quality job opportunities for the citizens of Washington County, MD.”
Anyone interested in more information on how Foreign Trade Zone #255 can benefit business in the area is encouraged to contact Linda Spence, business specialist and Foreign Trade Zone #255 zone administrator for the Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development at [email protected] or call 240-313-2286.
The Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development encourages private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Washington County, MD companies. More information is available here.