Foreign Trade Zone

Northwest Iowa is now a foreign-trade zone. In November 2013, the six-county Northwest Iowa Economic Development organization received a grant of authority from the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board under the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This is only the fourth foreign-trade zone established in Iowa and the first in a rural area of the state.

Designation as a foreign-trade zone is expected to help attract investment and boost trade in our Region.

A foreign-trade zone is a designated location in the United States where companies can use special procedures that help encourage U.S. activity and value added – in competition with foreign alternatives – by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise, as well as other savings.

Foreign Trade Zones benefit the public by:

  • facilitating and expediting international trade
  • providing special customs procedures as a public service to help firms conduct international trade-related operations in competition with foreign plants
  • encouraging and facilitating exports
  • helping attract offshore activity
  • encouraging retention of domestic activity
  • assisting state and local economic development efforts
  • helping create employment opportunities.

Foreign Trade Zones benefit the users by:

  • eliminating duties on re-exports
  • eliminating quota charges on re-exports
  • deferring customs duties and federal excise taxes
  • offering companies access to streamlined customs procedures
  • offering exemption of foreign goods and domestic goods from state and local inventory taxes
  • and other benefits

If you have questions about the Foreign Trade Zone designation or how your business can benefit, contact Dan Janssen (866) 384-2665 or