Foreign Trade Zone Approved for Fargo
U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad and Congressman Earl Pomeroy announced Tuesday that a foreign trade zone has been approved for the city of Fargo, a decision that could encourage more commercial activity in the region, and give the city the same advantage as others in the Upper Great Plains that already have Foreign Trade Zones.
The delegation has been pushing for this designation since the city first applied to be considered. They have written letters in support of the designation. And earlier this month, they called the Commerce Department’s Director of the Foreign Trade Zone Office, Dennis Puccinelli, to urge him to expedite the processing and approval of the city’s application.
“This is great news for Fargo and for North Dakota. This has been one of the top priorities of the Fargo Cass County economic development community and I’m happy to have been able to work with them to secure this designation,” said Rep. Pomeroy. “This designation creates a welcoming environment for economic growth and contributes to the creation of new jobs in the region.”
“We’ve supported Fargo’s effort to win this designation from beginning to end,” Senator Dorgan said. “This is a well-deserved Christmas gift for the Fargo economy, and brings the opportunity to boost the manufacturing base in the area and hopefully, create new jobs.”
“This designation will open the door to new opportunities in North Dakota,” Senator Conrad said. “This is a real investment in North Dakota and its future.”
“Business from the Fargo, West Fargo and Greater Cass County Region will greatly benefit from this special designation as it will provide economic development leaders a new tool for recruiting businesses to the region who may not have considered this area in the past as well as retain existing businesses. This was a real team effort, from the local city and business leaders to the North Dakota Congressional Delegation,” said Shawn Dobberstein, Executive Director of the Fargo Municipal Airport Authority.
A Foreign Trade Zone is an area designated for the duty-free entry of goods, which can be stored, displayed, assembled, packaged, or used for manufacture within the zone and re-exported without duties being levied. This would allow manufacturers to produce products in the Fargo area without having to pay duties in advance on the merchandise they need.
Securing Foreign Trade Zone status plays a critical role in achieving goals set out by the Fargo Municipal Airport Authority, the Fargo Cass County Economic Development Corporation and other community leaders by lowering existing manufacturers’ operating costs and providing an incentive to not only continue business in the region, but also expand operations.
This designation could provide a significant boost to North Dakota’s economy, which supports nearly 2,300 manufacturing-related jobs in Fargo alone. The Fargo metropolitan area also has become home to several regional warehouse distribution centers.
Fargo’s access to two interstate highways, the Hector International Airport and Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s rail service, combined with a Foreign Trade Zone designation, could give Fargo a competitive advantage in recruiting even more warehouse distribution companies that are looking to expand their international trade activities.