Partnership first in nation to help Wisconsin companies in Foreign-Trade Zone

Partnership first in nation to help Wisconsin companies in Foreign-Trade Zone

Contact: Tom Thieding, 608-210-6767
Jeff Fleming, 414-286-8580

WEDC and Port of Milwaukee provide application and education assistance to Wisconsin businesses

MADISON, Wis. June 17, 2013 – A new partnership between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Port of Milwaukee will make it easier for state businesses to take full advantage of the regional Foreign-Trade Zone. This unique effort is designed to increase the participation in the Port’s Foreign-Trade Zone and boost international trade by managing tariffs and in some cases reducing or eliminating those fees.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett signed a resolution this week formalizing the partnership with WEDC.

“The Port of Milwaukee and WEDC have launched this cooperative effort so the businesses we serve can more efficiently and economically access foreign markets,” Mayor Barrett said. “As private businesses grow with foreign trade, Milwaukee benefits and so does the entire state. That’s why we started our work with the Foreign-Trade Zone, and that’s why we are advancing this partnership with WEDC.”

WEDC is providing the Port of Milwaukee a Collaborative Market Access Grant of up to $50,000 to award to businesses to help offset the costs of applying for new or expanded Foreign Trade Zone status and the costs of a current Foreign-Trade Zone operator for ongoing staff education. The maximum a company is eligible to receive is $10,000 per fiscal year.

“To advance the Transform Milwaukee initiative, the Foreign-Trade Zone program was created to facilitate international trade and increase the global competitiveness of US-based companies,” said Governor Scott Walker. “We’re forming this partnership to give businesses a competitive edge to take advantage of the Foreign-Trade Zone benefits.”

A Foreign-Trade Zone is an area within the United States, in or near a U.S. Customs Port of Entry, which is considered outside the U.S. Custom’s territory. This means certain types of merchandise can be imported into the zone without going through formal customs entry procedures or paying import duties.

“Wisconsin is being a national leader in advancing a collaboration like this to simplify the process for businesses to fully utilize the Port of Milwaukee’s Foreign-Trade Zone,” said Lora Klenke, vice president of international development with WEDC.

The Port of Milwaukee was granted Foreign-Trade Zone No. 41 on August 31, 2011. This Foreign-Trade Zone provides businesses in counties within 60 miles or 90 minute drive from the Port of Milwaukee to receive an expedited Foreign-Trade Zones Board approval.

The U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones program was created by the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934.  There are more than 230 Foreign-Trade Zone projects and nearly 400 Subzones in the United States. Wisconsin has two other Foreign-Trade Zones, in Brown County through the Port of Green Bay and Dane County through the Port of Milwaukee.

About Port of Milwaukee
The Port of Milwaukee is an economic entity of city government governed by the seven-member Board of Harbor Commissioners, a panel appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett and confirmed by the Common Council.  It administers operations on the 467 acres that make up the Port.  It promotes shipping and commerce throughout the region by providing access to domestic and international ships, rail, and over-the-road transportation.

About Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. WEDC nurtures business growth and job creation by providing resources, technical support and financial assistance to companies, partners and communities in Wisconsin. WEDC has four focus areas: business and industry development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship and innovation and international business development. Together with more than 600 regional and local business development partners, it represents a highly responsive and coordinated network. Visit or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.