S.C.'s trade zones are big business

Image by flickr user allspice1Image by 20080616foreigntrade.jpg Cars line up at the Charleston port. Foreign-trade zones are a multi-billion dollar business.

South Carolina's three foreign-trade zones netted a 10th place ranking for the state. During 2006, zones in the 50 states and Puerto Rico received $491 billion worth of goods and employed 360,000 workers.

From the report:
The top 15 states in terms of merchandise receipts by FTZs are: Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, California, New Jersey, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Illinois, South
Carolina, Mississippi, Indiana, Alabama, Michigan, and Washington.

And if you're curious what a foreign-trade zone is, the report offers this:
Companies operating within an FTZ can import components and products into the zone for manufacturing without immediately paying prevailing U.S. Customs duties. Under the program, the manufacturers may never pay a duty — if the finished product is exported to another country - or pay a lower duty if the product leaves the FTZ and enters U.S. territory as a product subject to lower duty rates.

South Carolina has three foreign-trade zones in 14 different areas across the state centered on Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville-Spartanburg. You can see a map and stats on zones in all 50 states here.

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