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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Approves New Foreign-Trade Zone in Montana

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, June 26, 2009

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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Approves New Foreign-Trade Zone in Montana

Zone to Spur Economic Growth and Foster Job Creation in Butte, Montana Area

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the approval of a new Foreign-Trade Zone in Butte-Silver Bow, Montana to help improve Montana’s competitive position in the global economy. This new designation will allow substantial cost savings for businesses on import duties, merchandise processing fees, faster delivery and higher security.

“This new foreign-trade zone will provide local businesses another tool to stay competitive, help create jobs and contribute to Montana’s economic recovery,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.

Here’s how the designation can work for Montana companies in the zone: Say, for example, a business sells both U.S. and foreign-made products to customers around the world. If that business is in a Foreign Trade Zone, it can receive, warehouse, and re-export products duty-free, reducing its costs and helping it to compete better with foreign-based rivals.

Each year, thousands of businesses use zones to handle both foreign and domestic products, with more than $30 billion in merchandise exported from FTZs to foreign markets.

In 2008, Montana's export shipments of merchandise totaled $1.4 billion. More than 10 percent of all manufacturing workers in Montana depend on exports for their jobs.

“A foreign trade zone designation is a useful tool to help Montana businesses compete internationally,” said U.S. Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “I was a proponent of this designation because it will help assure future economic growth and jobs in our state.”

“This is great news because it will bring new jobs and opportunity to southwest Montana,” said U.S. Senator Jon Tester, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "When Montana's small businesses have a chance to compete with businesses throughout the world, they will succeed because of their hard work, their innovation, and their attention to quality."

The new Foreign Trade Zone is sponsored by the City and County of Butte-Silver Bow, and consists of a 1,545-acre site within a Tax Increment Financing Industrial District west of Butte.

“When given a chance to compete in the world marketplace, I’ll bet on good old-fashioned Montana hard work and ingenuity every time,” said Representative Denny Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “This designation is great news for small businesses, which are not only the backbone of our economy, but the engine of new job creation in Butte-Silver Bow.”

There are more than 250 foreign trade zones across the country. For more information about the FTZs, please visit www.trade.gov/ftz.