The Miami International Airport has been designated as a Foreign Trade Zone by the U.S. Commerce Department

February 18, 2018

The Miami International Airport has been designated as a Foreign Trade Zone by the U.S. Commerce Department, reducing some of the costs for importers and exporters at the airport.

The Miami-Dade Aviation Department gained final approval from the regulatory agency last week, which will make MIA’s entire 3,230-acre site a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) site.

The designation is good news for Miami-Dade County’s largest economic engine, which has been waiting for final approval from the commerce Department for more than a year.

The FTZ allows companies that operate manufacturing, warehousing or distribution centers at the airport to have their federal tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated.

Companies handling high-traffic commodities at MIA – pharmaceuticals, electronics, textiles, footwear, auto parts, aircraft parts, avionics, machinery equipment, consumer goods and perishables – are expected to be FTZ applicants. To be an FTZ operator, companies must first complete an application with PortMiami – the grantee of FTZ 281 – and then receive approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The expedited application process takes approximately 30 days.

FTZ 281 encompasses land from S.W. 8th Street to the Broward County line, and from Miami Beach in the east to the Urban Development line in the west. Companies within an FTZ are able to defer paying duties only when product exits the site, reduce duties on combined finished products instead of on each individual product, and eliminate duties on products being imported to the site and then exported.

In 2016, MIA’s air trade was valued at $57.3 billion – representing 92 percent of the value of Florida’s total air trade and 40 percent of the State’s total (air and sea) trade with the world.

“The MIA FTZ creates an attractive business opportunity for companies to begin or expand their operations directly on-site at the passenger and cargo gateway of the Americas,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said. “Congratulations to the MIA team for achieving this significant milestone, which has strong potential for new business revenue and job creation in our community.”

Gaining the Foreign Trade Zone designation was a major priority for former MIA airport director Emilio González, who announced his resignation in November of 2017. The airport has yet to announce who will be replacing González, who is now Miami’s city manager.

In 2016, Miami International Airport had $33.7 billion in business revenue, supported more than 280,000 direct and indirect jobs and handled more than 44 million passengers, according to the airport.

Source press The South Florida Business Journal & Mia Airport News 

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