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FTZ Board approves NEOTEC application for new streamlined program:  eases process for companies securing FTZ status

March 15, 2011

The Northeast Ohio Trade and Economic Consortium (NEOTEC)—grantee of Northeast Ohio’s Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 181—recently received approval by the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board to reorganize the zone under a new program that streamlines the process for manufacturing and distribution companies looking to utilize FTZ 181 as a way to reduce global supply chain costs.

The Alternative Site Framework (ASF) program will give NEOTEC greater flexibility to attract businesses and jobs to the region and help promote international commerce. It dramatically shortens the process for new companies to secure FTZ status for warehousing and distribution operations and for existing companies in the zone to expand. The new process takes approximately 30 days from date of application; under the previous framework, the process took 12 months.

According to Ron DeBarr, NEOTEC’s president and CEO, the FTZ program is a cost-saving global supply chain management tool that can significantly improve a company’s bottom line by eliminating or delaying duty payments. “With this new streamlined process, NEOTEC can better respond to the needs of companies seeking Foreign-Trade Zone status in Northeast Ohio,” says DeBarr. “Companies can now receive FTZ status within a month and more quickly begin reducing their logistics costs as they move product in and out of the zone.”
As part of NEOTEC’s ASF application, one new site and one expansion were established in FTZ 181. They include a new 71-acre site in Akron for Albrecht, Inc., and a 209-acre expansion of the site for the City of Green at the CAK International Business Park near the Akron-Canton Airport.

Albrecht vice president Jack Juron says that FTZ status is an important feature in attracting new firms into the 71-acre industrial park. “With the new FTZ designation, companies at this location can take advantage of several benefits structured to help them be more competitive on a global level.”

For the City of Green, the 209-acre expansion will greatly increase its ability to serve the international commerce needs of area companies. “We anticipate continued growth for the City of Green because of the additional FTZ acreage available for companies who wish to compete internationally,” says City of Green Mayor Dick Norton. “This is an important economic development tool that sets this area of Green apart. Plus, the new streamlined ASF process, enabling companies to quickly secure FTZ status, will be a huge selling point to bring new business to Northeast Ohio and the City of Green,” Norton says.

The total number of sites in FTZ 181 now numbers 27, stretching over nearly 5,700 acres throughout the region. “The Alternative Site Framework is a win-win program for the region and for NEOTEC,” says DeBarr. “We can now more aggressively promote the zone for what it really is…a useful business tool that will bring greater prosperity to area companies and a more robust regional economy by helping the U.S. level the playing field with foreign competition.”

NEOTEC is an economic development partnership that works as a regional force to attract capital investments, create jobs and enhance economic opportunities throughout Northeast Ohio. As a private, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, NEOTEC provides economic development services on behalf of the Joint Office of Economic Development (JOED), which is comprised of the commissioners and county executive of NEOTEC’s nine member counties, including Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, and Trumbull counties.

In addition to Foreign-Trade Zone 181, NEOTEC promotes international trade by hosting the regional International Trade Assistance Center. NEOTEC also works to attract foreign direct investment to Northeast Ohio through its Global Business Development Initiative (GBDI) and to improve market access through the administration of the Northeast Ohio Logistics Network.

NEOTEC is based in Kent on the campus of Kent State University, which partners with NEOTEC in its economic development efforts. For more information about NEOTEC’s business support services, visit NEOTEC’s Web site at www.neotec.org or contact Ron DeBarr, president and CEO, at 330-672-4080 or via e-mail at rdebarr@neotec.org.