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Foreign Trade Zones

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Overview

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) are under the authority of the US Customs and Border Protection. As explained on the CBP website, the CBP is responsible for the transfer of merchandise into and out of the FTZ and for matters involving the collection of revenue. The Office of Regulations and Rulings at CBP Headquarters provides legal interpretations of the applicable statute, CBP Regulations and procedures.


The Port Director of CBP, in whose port a zone is located, is charged with overseeing zone activity as the local representative of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board. He or she controls the admission of merchandise into the zone, the handling and disposition of merchandise in the zone, and the removal of merchandise from the zone. In addition to the Foreign-Trade Zones Act, he or she enforces all laws normally enforced by CBP that are relevant to foreign-trade zones.


Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) are secure areas under U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervision that are generally considered outside CBP territory upon activation. Located in or near CBP ports of entry, they are the United States' version of what are known internationally as free-trade zones. Authority for establishing these facilities is granted by the Foreign-Trade Zones Board under the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a-81u). The Foreign-Trade Zones Act is administered through two sets of regulations, the FTZ Regulations (15 CFR Part 400) and CBP Regulations (19 CFR Part 146).




FTZ Advantages

In short, the FTZ allows companies to reduce their taxes on imports and exports while maintaining the local community's ability to collect taxes through agreements with the company. By establishing local sub-zones, communities can use the FTZ program to attract companies that may otherwise locate elsewhere.  It is a competitive advantage for those companies needing this support.


Port Houston manages Foreign Trade Zone #84, which includes many privately owned and port-owned sites located throughout the Houston area. The primary benefits come in the form of import duty and tariff savings. For example, customs duties on imported goods entering the zone can be delayed until the cargo is moved out. No duty is paid if the merchandise is exported directly from the zone.





Establish an FTZ in Waller County

Non-objection Declaration

Waller County supports companies seeking an FTZ by issuing a non-objection statement. This signals that Waller County is willing to support the FTZ.

Local Tax Agreements

Qualification & Next Steps

If your company can take advantage of an FTZ, contact the WCEDP to discuss the project.  Not all projects are automatically supported. Each applicant must comply with the incentive policies of the County. In general, each company is reviewed to see if they are compatible with the County's current development goals, have no negative affect on the health, safety or welfare of the community, and are financially able to sustain operations within Waller County.

Waller County is part of the service area under the Port of Houston Authority FTZ #84. This means a streamlined application process and reduced application costs for qualifying companies. Contact us to learn more.