Job Opening: President of NAFTZ in Washington, DC

The National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ) is seeking a new President. The organization is now looking for a President to report to the Board of Directors and manage the organization’s strategic, programmatic, financial, and managerial operations. The NAFTZ is working with the Executive search firm Pisani Recruiting, Inc. For details regarding the position, please refer to the job listing.

NAFTZ JOINS BUSINESS GROUP CALL FOR PROMPT PASSAGE OF CUSTOMS BILL

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones today joined with the U.S. Council for International Business and other pro-trade organizations in calling for passage of Trade Facilitation and Customs Enforcement legislation before Congress adjourns for the year.

In a letter addressed to Speaker Paul Ryan, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the group applauded the recent House of Representatives call for conferees and urged the leadership to take prompt action and pass a reconciled customs bill.

“It has been over 20 years since the U.S. Congress has passed true customs modernization legislation,” the joint letter stated. “Continued customs modernization is essential to providing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) the support it needs to safeguard America’s borders while enhancing economic prosperity, and ensuring stability for American importers and exporters.”

In signing-on to the joint letter, NAFTZ President Daniel Griswold said “NAFTZ is committed to the timely implementation of the Automated Commercial Environment. Passage of Customs Authorization with full funding of ACE has been the top legislative priority of the association and an issue we raise in every meeting with members of Congress and their staffs. We are encouraged that Congress at last appears ready to move forward with bipartisan approval of this important legislation.“ More than 12 percent of U.S. imported goods are admitted to foreign-trade zones.

“The bill is vital to the U.S. economy,” the joint letter stated. “We urge Conferees to resolve the outstanding issues, so that the Trade Facilitation and Customs Enforcement bill can move forward, in a bipartisan fashion, for the president’s signature this year.” The full text of the joint letter is attached.

-END-

The National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones is a trade association of more than 600 members representing public and private organizations involved in the foreign-trade zones program. NAFTZ is the primary voice of communities and industries that utilize the FTZ program, including zone grantees, operators and users.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones
1001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20036

Jarmila Zapata, NAFTZ
202-331-1950 jzapata@naftz.org

Brian Hannigan, Smith Dawson & Andrews
202-835-0740 brianh@sda-inc.com

Read the full letter

NAFTZ is Moving November 30, 2015!

NAFTZ’s big move to our new office space is less than a week away.

Starting 11/30/15, send all correspondence to:

NAFTZ
National Press Building
529 14th Street, NW
Suite 1071 Washington, DC 20045

Phone and fax numbers will be the same as before.

The new location is located two blocks from the Metro Center station on the Red, Orange, and Blue lines (see the current Metrorail map).

At the Metro Center station, you may take either the 13th and G Street Exit or the 12th and F Street Exit.

NAFTZ New Office Map

NAFTZ Urges CBP to Adjust its ACE Deadline to July 2016 or Later

In a letter this week to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), NAFTZ urged the agency to delay the upcoming ACE mandatory use deadline of February 28, 2016, “to a timeline that is at minimum no earlier than July 2016.” In the November 16, 2015, letter to CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, NAFTZ President Daniel Griswold re-affirmed the association’s strong support for automation and the changes that CBP has made with the “progressive implementation of ACE.” The letter noted that successful implementation for both CBP and the trade community is entirely dependent on sufficient time to “develop, test, and implement the ACE electronic data elements; and update procedures and processes in order to support the updated software and new data requirements in a compliant, business efficient manner.” The unanticipated delay of the published CATAIR and delay in providing a certificate environment is causing concern regarding the proposed February 28, 2016 deadline. Adjusting the deadline to July or later will give the FTZ community time to implement the changes and is essential throughout the various transition stages. To assist with CBP’s automation efforts, NAFTZ has created an ACE Task Force, which will be vital in helping the FTZ community during the transition to ACE. The NAFTZ letter affirmed that this group of experienced FTZ operators, users, and service providers is fully prepared and willing to meet with CBP to successfully migrate to ACE with the implementation of 06 entry/entry summaries.

Read the letter

NAFTZ Urges FTZ Board to Reconsider Application Approval Process

In an important letter to the Foreign-Trade Zones Board, the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones today expressed its concern on behalf of its more than 600 members about how certain applications for production authority are being considered by the board for approval. In the October 28, 2015, letter to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew, NAFTZ noted that the continued success of the FTZ program in promoting the retention and reshoring of manufacturing activity in the United States “may be jeopardized by inconsistencies in the Foreign-Trade Zones Board’s approval process of certain production authority applications in a handful of industries where opposition to applications has emerged. We urge you in your capacity as the members of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to reconsider this process to ensure that every application receives both a complete analysis of its net benefits to the U.S. economy, and a decision based firmly on that analysis.”

Read the letter

NAFTZ Hosts Successful 2015 Annual Conference in Los Angeles

At the NAFTZ’s 43rd Annual Conference, which recently concluded in Los Angeles, California, more than 420 participants were brought together under the theme “FTZs: A Star Attraction for U.S. Trade & Investment.” As one of the nation’s busiest ports in the United States, Los Angeles was the perfect venue for four days of networking, education, and fun with foreign-trade zone professionals from all sectors of the FTZ community. The conference opened with a Sunday evening reception.

At the conference’s opening general session on Monday, Eric Caris, Director of Cargo Marketing for the Port of Los Angeles, discussed the importance of Foreign-Trade Zones to the state and local economy. The Port of Los Angeles ranks number one in inbound Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in North America and is number ten globally. The existing infrastructure and ongoing expansion of terminals and warehousing will make the port more attractive for trade in both directions.

Eric Caris, Director of Cargo Marketing for the Port of Los Angeles, discussing  the importance of Foreign-Trade Zones with NAFTZ members.

His speech was followed by Anne Maricich, Acting Director, Office of Field Operations – Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA, and Director, Centers of Excellence and Expertise, Electronics. She gave an overview of the Trusted Trader program, which she defined as a holistic approach towards supply chain security and trade compliance. Later, she addressed ACE implementation and key dates for ACE transition. She stated that Customs at Port of LA oversees 76 zone sites across seven counties.

Anne Maricich, Acting Director, Office of Field Operations - Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA, and Director, Centers of Excellence and Expertise, Electronics.

Monday’s keynote speaker, Deputy Assistant USTR Christina Sevilla cited record exports and jobs from FTZs in 2014. She said trade has accounted for one-third of U.S. growth since 2009. Another important figure that she shared was that export jobs pay on average 18% more than non-export jobs. She urged NAFTZ members to support congressional approval of the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Christina Sevilla, Deputy Assistant USTR urges NAFTZ members to support congressional approval of TTP agreement.

Monday also marked the grand opening of the exhibition hall. Seventeen FTZ related software vendors, consultants, and ports showcased their offerings to an audience of hundreds of enthusiastic FTZ professionals. The day came to a close with the conference’s Grand Opening Networking Reception, which was sponsored by Amber Road.

Amber Road sponsors Grand Opening Reception

Attendees enjoying Grand Opening Reception sponsored by Amber Road.

Tuesday’s program featured addresses by NAFTZ President Dan Griswold and FTZ Board Executive Secretary Andrew McGilvray. President Griswold reported on the Association’s events throughout the year, analyzed key statistics released in the recent FTZ Board Annual Report, and shared details on NAFTZs advocacy agenda for 2016. Executive Secretary McGilvray’s presentation revealed that 2014 case levels were near 2013’s all-time high. He stated that the high case numbers in recent years were a direct result of the Alternative Site Framework.

McGilvray also mentioned that the FTZ Board was planning an outreach and training event for grantees on October 1st at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Training on grantee roles and responsibilities along with discussion on related topics of interest to attendees were key components of this event. McGilvray ended his presentation with a discussion on framing the “Scope of Authority” for production operations. The Foreign-Trade Zones Board staff was well represented at the conference, including Elizabeth Whiteman, Camille Evans, Diane Finver, and Marsha Foust.

At Tuesday evening’s social event, attendees and their guests enjoyed the Main Event Reception at the poolside while enjoying hors d’oeuvres. This memorable event was hosted by Integration Point and the Port of Houston Authority.

Attendees enjoying the Main Event Reception sponsored by Integration Point and Port of Houston Authority

Attendees enjoying the Main Event Reception sponsored by Integration Point and Port of Houston Authority

At the Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday, September 30, the membership elected four new Board Members: Angie Atwood, Lesley Couch, Shannon Fura, and James Grogan. Jose Quinonez, a Grantee and Foreign-Trade Zone Manager of the City of El Paso, FTZ No. 68 in Texas, accepted the gavel from outgoing Chair Jan Frantz.

When not meeting in General Session, members were able to choose from a range of timely topics offered in tracks for Operator/Users, Grantees, the Petroleum sector, and Fundamentals of FTZs. The return of the Advanced Track was well received, with one attendee stating on our event app survey “…great knowledge and pointers from the speakers, thank you!” The track covered topics like entry reconciliation, in-bond summary. NAFTA duty deferral & temporary removal, and vendor managed inventory.

Finally, NAFTZ would like to thank all the sponsors, attendees, speakers, organizers, press, and everyone who helped make this wonderful event possible. We hope you can join us in October in Orlando, Florida for our next Annual Conference & Exposition!

View the conference photos.

NAFTZ Hosts Successful Spring Seminar in Tampa, Florida

In May, the NAFTZ hosted an exciting and successful Spring Seminar in Tampa, Florida, with 167 attendees. Titled “FTZs: Competiveness & Compliance in Global Trade,” the event provided the most current and relevant educational content, numerous networking opportunities, and fun activities in a relaxed setting.

The event kicked off with a well-attended reception on Sunday evening, giving attendees a chance to meet, mingle, and unwind prior to Monday’s full day of educational sessions. Monday morning began with opening remarks from Mayor Bob Buckhorn, City of Tampa. He enthusiastically spoke on how FTZs have added to the competitive advantage for the state of Florida.

In the first general session, Andrew McGilvray gave an FTZ Board Update. He discussed the immediate need for greater responsiveness, flexibility and burden reduction among grantees, users, and government for application procedures, especially concerning manufacturing. McGilvray talked about the new, faster, simpler process for securing production notifications. Typically, applicants are notified within a 120-day time-frame, but the applicant now has the option to request interim approval if activation is needed sooner. He also noted that since the FTZ Board has adopted the Alternative Site Framework (ASF), more than 150 zones have decided to transition to ASF or have applications in progress. Grantees from at least two-thirds of active zones have transitioned or are in the process of shifting to ASF.

Jim Swanson, Director of the Cargo and Security Controls Division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), spoke about the many changes ahead and the time-frame for FTZ Automation. He stated that a FTZ Automation Participant Checklist in coordination with NAFTZ’s ACE Taskforce is posted on CBP.gov and that the April 2015 updates contain clearer instructions. The session concluded with an ACE Task Force Update from NAFTZ Board Member Melissa Irmen.

Following the CBP Update, attendees split into separate tracks for Grantees, Operator/Users, and Fundamentals. Among the topics covered were the ins and outs of scope of authority, ACE initiatives and the e214 Handbook, and new tools for grantees for cost-benefit analysis and case studies on targeted marketing for FTZ projects. Monday’s educational program concluded with a series of lively roundtable discussions among Operator/Users and Grantees where issues and questions raised during previous sessions were openly discussed from different perspectives. These roundtables allowed attendees to resolve any lingering questions with the help of their peers in the field.

Later in the evening, attendees and their families toured the Tampa Museum of Art while enjoying hors d’oeuvres. The museum contained a spectacular collection of Norman Rockwell’s original artwork. This memorable event was hosted by Tampa Bay FTZ Project and Regional Partners.

The second day opened with a Florida Update from Bill Johnson, Secretary of Commerce. He told NAFTZ members that partnerships with 21 FTZs in Florida are absolutely crucial to the growth and diversification of the economy. He also emphasized the need to market the state of Florida as a business destination. After the general sessions, we launched our first ever Advanced Track sessions, which covered topics like limiting exposure and the value, removal, and operational impact of scrap and waste products. The Advanced track was generally well received, with one attendee stating on our event app survey “…the speakers were very knowledgeable and the material was valuable.”

We hope that many of you enjoyed using the event app and found it valuable in connecting with other attendees. The data shows that 37% of our attendees downloaded the event app. The app’s most popular features included the schedule, the photo album, the attendee list, and speaker and moderator list. Attendees liked submitting general feedback for the event along with the particular sessions that they attended all through the event app. In our post event survey, one attendee enthusiastically exclaimed, “Thank you for the Event app. Now we can save a couple of trees!”

Finally, NAFTZ would like to thank all the sponsors, attendees, speakers, organizers, press, and everyone who helped make this wonderful event possible. We look forward to seeing all of you again in September in Los Angeles, California, for our Annual Conference and Exposition!

NAFTZ Hosts Successful Annual Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas

From September 14 – 17, 2014, more than 460 attendees from all over the world gathered in Fort Worth, Texas for the NAFTZ’s 42nd Annual Conference and Exposition. As one of the nation’s hotbeds for Foreign-Trade Zone activity, Texas was the perfect venue for four days of networking, education, and fun with professionals from all areas of the FTZ community and beyond. The conference began with a Sunday evening reception, which also marked the grand opening of the exhibition hall. In the exhibition hall, eighteen FTZ related software vendors, consultants, and ports showcased their offerings to an audience of more than 460 FTZ professionals. 700_7663 Monday morning’s sessions began with a speech by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Flores, who discussed the importance of Foreign-Trade Zones to the state and local economy. The speech was followed by an informative panel discussion titled Changes & Updates to CBP’s Focused Assessment Program, which featured Elizabeth Chiavetta and Cheryl Johnson of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Regulatory Audit division. 300_0133

In one of the conference’s most memorable highlights, Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske of U.S. Customs and Border Protection addressed Monday afternoon’s general session. During his speech, the Commissioner described lawful international trade as “a boon to our nation’s economic security,” and expressed his commitment to CBP’s trade facilitation mission. Kerlikowske then praised the FTZ program for its contributions to the U.S. economy, citing the tripling of FTZ exports since 2009 and the record levels of employment and merchandise received recently reported by the FTZ Board. The Commissioner also pledged to be supportive of FTZs, and stressed the importance of their integration into the Automated Commercial Environment. 300_0471 Tuesday’s program featured addresses by NAFTZ President Dan Griswold and FTZ Board Executive Secretary Andrew McGilvray. President Griswold’s presentation reviewed highlights of the Association’s events throughout the year, analyzed some of the remarkable statistics released in the recent FTZ Board Annual Report, and shared details of the NAFTZs advocacy agenda for 2014. Executive Secretary McGilvray’s presentation revealed that 2014 case levels at the FTZ Board are on track to reach 2012 levels or higher. McGilvray explained that the Alternative Site Framework has continued to grow in popularity, with 127 zones currently under ASF and 13 applications pending. 300_0391 Tuesday’s luncheon featured a keynote speech by Ross Perot, Jr., Chairman of the Perot Group and Hillwood. Perot discussed the significance of Foreign-Trade Zones to the commercial real estate and development industry, citing Hillwood’s involvement with 6 different FTZ sites in the United States. Perot also discussed the global competitiveness of the United States as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment. 300_0473 On Wednesday morning, the NAFTZ membership gathered for its Annual Business Meeting. At the meeting, NAFTZ President Dan Griswold provided a detailed report on NAFTZ’s advocacy initiatives, as well as an update on membership and the association’s financial position. The Annual Business Meeting also marked the re-election of NAFTZ Board Chair Jan Frantz, a Grantee and Executive Director of the BC/CAL/KAL Inland Port Development Corporation in Battle Creek, Michigan. The membership also elected one new Board member, Sean Lydon of ISCM, Incorporated. 700_7776 Wednesday’s luncheon marked another memorable occasion, a panel discussion featuring officials from the recently founded World Free Zones Organization (WFZO). During the signing ceremony, Dr. Mohammed Al Zarouni and Dr. Samir Hamrouni spoke about the significance and goals of the new organization. They were joined on stage by NAFTZ Board member Kenneth Carlstedt and Secretary Julie Brown, as well as former NAFTZ Chairman Lewis Leibowitz, who spoke about the benefits that NAFTZs participation in the WFZO would provide for NAFTZ members. The NAFTZ wishes to thank all those who attended, exhibited, and sponsored our 2014 Annual Conference and Exposition. We look forward to seeing each of you next year in Los Angeles, California!

FTZ Exports and Merchandise Recieved Continued to Set New Records in 2013

 

The value of exports from America’s Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZs) increased by 13.7 percent in 2013, to a record-high 79.5 billion in merchandise exported, according to figures released by the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board in its Annual Report to Congress.

At 835.8 billion, the 2013 value of received merchandise into FTZs also reached a new high, surpassing the previous year’s record of $732.2 billion – a 14.1 percent increase. Nearly two-thirds of the merchandise received by FTZs in 2013 was domestically sourced, with the value of domestic status inputs growing to $545.5 billion. The remaining $290.3 billion in received merchandise consisted of foreign status inputs.

The composition of foreign status inputs received by Foreign-Trade Zones has also shifted significantly, according to the report. In 2013, a 16 percent decline in foreign status petroleum inputs was offset by increases in other product categories, such as vehicles, electrical machinery, and consumer products.

Daniel Griswold, President of the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones, praised the report’s findings. “Record FTZ exports, merchandise received, and employment offer compelling evidence that the FTZ program is expanding and adapting to meet the needs of American-based companies competing in a global economy. The FTZ program has become vital to U.S. economic policy goals of boosting exports, attracting foreign investment, and creating well-paying and sustainable private-sector jobs on American soil.”

“FTZ user companies have done more than their share to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports,” Griswold added. “Since 2009, exports from foreign-trade zones have almost tripled, from $28 billion to nearly $80 billion. The FTZ program shows that when U.S.-based companies are allowed to access global inputs at competitive prices, they can become export powerhouses.”

According to the report, the $79.5 billion export figure is based solely on material inputs, and does not include the value added to those inputs by U.S.-based manufacturers operating in Foreign-Trade Zones. The National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones is currently working with the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board to more accurately capture the full value of exports from FTZs, including the value added to foreign and domestic status inputs by FTZ user companies.  

There were 177 active FTZs during 2013, with a total of 289 active manufacturing/production operations. A record high of 390,000 persons were employed at 3,050 firms that used FTZs during the year – an increase of 20,000 employees over 2012. The FTZ Board processed 65 applications for new or expanded production authority in 2013, and reorganized 23 zones under the alternative site framework (ASF).

The complete report can be downloaded at:
http://enforcement.trade.gov/ftzpage/annualreport/ar-2013.pdf

The National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones is a trade association of 650 members representing public and private organizations involved in the foreign-trade zones program. NAFTZ is the primary voice of communities and industries that utilize the FTZ program, including zone grantees, operators and users. For a PDF version of this NAFTZ Press Release, click here.

 

NAFTZ Hosts Successful Spring Seminar in Seattle, Washington

Earlier this week, the NAFTZ hosted an exciting and successful Spring Seminar in Seattle, Washington, with nearly 150 people in attendance. Titled “Technology and the Future of FTZs,” the event featured cutting-edge educational programming, vast networking opportunities, and fun recreational activities in a relaxed and comfortable setting.

The Seattle Skyline, as seen from the NAFTZ’s Monday night cruise

The event kicked off with a well-attended reception on Sunday evening, providing attendees with a chance to meet, mingle, and unwind before Monday’s full day of educational sessions. The following morning began with an FTZ Board Update from Andrew McGilvray, who discussed the recent surge in case levels and staff actions at the FTZ Board and the new faster, simpler process for securing production notifications. Concerning the production notifications, McGilvray explained that the vast majority are now being fully approved at the end of the 120-day process. He also noted that 2014 marks the 5th year since the adoption of the Alternative Site Framework by the FTZ Board, and reported that 118 zones have since transitioned to ASF with several applications currently pending.

Attendees enjoying the opening day’s programming

Torrey Chambliss of FTZ No. 79 in Tampa, Florida addresses attendees during a General Session

Following the FTZ Board update, attendees split into separate tracks for Grantees, Operator/Users, and Fundamentals. One of the morning’s highlights was a set of exciting Operator/User sessions on FTZ strategic planning, during which experienced FTZ operators taught attendees how to measure the ROI achieved by their zones and discover unexpected sources of savings within the FTZ environment. At the same time, some of the nation’s most experienced Grantees led discussions on recordkeeping compliance issues and strategies for marketing the FTZ environment to potential Operator/Users.

Monday afternoon’s general sessions were also a big hit, beginning with an update on the current status of the proposed In-Bond regulations and a subsequent presentation from Janelle Panoke, Program Manager for Trade at the Seattle Field Office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This exciting series of general sessions concluded with an ACE Task Force Update from NAFTZ Board Member Melissa Irmen. With regards to Air Manifest and In-Bond issues, Irmen reported that the task force has submitted three “Great Idea Forms” to Customs addressing a number of issues raised by NAFTZ members. Attendees also learned that the Task Force is closely monitoring two issues related to FTZ admissions and is currently working with Customs on a “reimagining” of the weekly entry process.

Janelle Panoke, Program Manager for Trade at the Seattle Field Office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, delivers a CBP Update during Monday’s General Session

On Monday evening, attendees enjoyed a scenic sunset cruise on Elliott Bay with breathtaking views of the Seattle waterfront. This memorable event was led and organized by Grantees Mimi Dillman of the Port of Everett, FTZ No. 85; Steve Balaski of the Port of Seattle, FTZ No. 5; Annika Dean of the Port of Tacoma, FTZ No. 86; Jennie Foglia-Jones of the Port of Olympia, FTZ No. 216; and Teresa Carr of t he Port of Portland, FTZ No. 45. While attendees and their families enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres and the sights and sounds of the Seattle harbor, Steve Balaski acted as both tour guide and emcee for the evening, raffling off prizes from local zone users and pointing out the area’s key landmarks.

 

The event wrapped up with an exciting half-day of general sessions and round-table discussions on Tuesday, beginning with a regionally appropriate discussion of cross-border interactions between the U.S. and Canada. Cora Di Pietro of Livingston International provided a Canadian perspective on these issues, informing attendees about various Canadian supply chain and security programs similar to the U.S. FTZ and C-TPAT programs. Subsequent sessions continued along this North American theme, with Frankie Bryson of Nissan North America and Dom Gambardella of PriceWaterHouseCoopers, LLP discussing NAFTA issues, challenges, and documentation requirements. The day concluded with a series of lively roundtable discussions among Operator/Users and Grantees, where issues and questions raised during previous sessions were openly discussed from a variety of perspectives. The round tables provided an excellent conclusion to the seminar, allowing attendees to resolve any lingering questions with the help of their peers in the field.

The NAFTZ thanks all of its sponsors, attendees, and speakers for making this wonderful event possible. We look forward to seeing all of you again in September in Ft. Worth, Texas for our Annual Conference and Exposition!