Businesses of all sizes got a chance to look at the import and export programs available to them through the new Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) this week.
A free session was hosted by Enterprise Saint John (ESJ), Wednesday at Port Saint John.
The Federal government designated the Saint John region an FTZ Point in July, giving ESJ the mandate to promote local trade and foreign direct investment. As a single-point of access, it’s a one-stop shop for businesses looking for access to programs meant to make it easier for them to export and import.
“Greater Saint John was chosen for an FTZ because of its strategic location, having the third largest port by volume in Canada, great transportation infrastructure, available industrial park land for warehousing and manufacturing facilities, but also because it has an existing industrial base with an advanced supply chain,” says ESJ’s, Director of Investment Attraction, Ian McCoy.
The main function of an FTZ point is better access to several assistance programs that reduce the burden of tariffs, excise duties and taxes in the import and export of goods. It can mean reduced paper burden and operating expenses, improved cash flow and international competitiveness. But, it’s also a simplified tariff structure and can make advanced machinery and equipment purchases more affordable for companies.
McCoy lead the session, presenting the various programs that are available to companies and answering questions about particular scenarios.
“Duty-free manufacturing and preferential market access are traditional benefits of a Foreign Trade Zone under NAFTA. Obviously, there is still a lot of uncertainty but often in times of trade uncertainty, FTZs can be helpful by giving some shelter for companies.”
Matt George, who leads the Business Immigrant Essentials Program through The Hive, connects newcomer entrepreneurs to tools and resources to start a business in Saint John. He brought some of his clients to the session.
“Many of our clients in the Business Immigrant Essentials program are interested in doing business internationally. In a decentralizing world, we can’t afford to look inward, we must reach the rest of the world. Their interest is in how the FTZ affects business both incoming and outgoing,” says George.
This is the first information session being offered but more are expected in new year. You can learn more about the FTZ Point, here.