Foreign Trade Zones

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ), sometimes known as Free Trade Zones, are neutral, secured areas that for legal purposes are considered outside of U.S. Customs territory.  FTZs offer several economic advantages for businesses involved in international trade.

There are four general-purpose FTZs in North Carolina, and seven active Sub-Zones approved for use by individual companies.  In addition, all of the zones are transitioning to the Alternative Site Framework (ASF), which greatly simplifies services to users.

Foreign or domestic merchandise may enter FTZs without a formal customs entry or the payment of customs duties or government excise taxes and without a thorough examination.

If the final product is exported from the United States, no custom duty is levied.  If the final product is imported into the U.S., duty and excise taxes are due at the time of transfer from the foreign trade zone and formal entry is made into the U.S.  Duty is paid on the product itself or its imported parts, whichever is lower.

Generally, merchandise is exempt from payment of duty even if it is:

  • Manipulated
  • Used in a manufacturing process
  • Inspected
  • Combined with other domestic or foreign materials
  • Displayed for sale
  • Re-exported

Spoiled or damaged goods or waste materials may be disposed of or re-exported without payment of duty.

New capital investment by firms who might otherwise have located in foreign countries is another important advantage.  This new investment activity spurs development of support industries.

Helpful Resources | Foreign Trade Zones

For general information about Foreign Trade Zones in North Carolina, contact:
Liz Isley, Business Services, Partner Relations Manager
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
15000 Weston Parkway
Cary, NC 27513

For information on a specific Foreign Trade Zone in North Carolina, please contact:
Zone #57 | Greater Charlotte Zone
Charlotte Regional Partnership
550 South Caldwell Street
Suite 760
Charlotte, NC 28202
Tel:  (704) 347-8942
fax:  (704) 347-8981

Laura K. Foor
Project Manager/Foreign Trade Zone Administrator
(704) 347-8942

Zone #93 | Greater Research Triangle Zone
Triangle J Council of Governments
Mailing address:
4307 Emperor Blvd., Suite 110
Durham, NC 27703
(919) 558-9403
Fax:  (919) 485-8168

Renée Wyatt Boyette, Assistant to Executive Director

Zone #214 | South Eastern North Carolina (SENC)
North Carolina Department of Transportation

Lori Fuller
(919) 707-2815

Zone #230 | Piedmont Triad Zone
Piedmont Triad Partnership
416 Gallimore Dairy Road, Suite M
Greensboro, NC 27409
(336) 668-4556 or (800) 668-3749
fax:  (336) 668-3749

Penny Whiteheart, Executive Vice President
(336) 369-2201