After a years-long process, Shawnee Regional Airport has been designated a Foreign Trade Zone Magnet site.
City commission voted to approve the application in 2008, and the application was filed in fall 2009.
The airport being designated as a magnet site is beneficial for any Shawnee businesses that do imports.
Typically imports will go to a port and be inspected by Customs. Upon arrival, the purchaser of the goods is expected to pay various fees, which can total thousands of dollars.
However, the benefit of a foreign trade zone allows the products to skip Customs and come to the foreign trade zone site before paying the tariffs.
Matthew Weaver, director of marketing and business development at Trade Zone 106 in Oklahoma City, explained that there are two ends of the spectrum for a foreign trade zone regarding the tariffs.
One end is a deferral of the tariff, meaning the purchaser is allowed to pay a portion of the overall tariff as he sells the imported items, Weaver said.
Elimination is when two imported products, such as toner and printer cartridges are combined in the United States. When this happens, the product is considered American-made and the purchaser is no longer required to pay any tariff on it, he added.
“It really helps you manage your business,” Weaver said. “It’s a pretty awesome tool.”
The added benefit of the airport being a magnet site is that multiple Shawnee businesses can take advantage of the tariff benefits through the airport. Whereas typically each business would otherwise have to become it’s own foreign trade zone to take advantage of the tax benefits, Weaver added.
Assistant Airport Manager Rex Hennen said he is pleased Shawnee received the designation.
“The main thing is it expands our ability to attract new business,” Hennen said.