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NEWS: ‘Foreign trade zone’ study to be made public later this year

The British Columbia government is exploring the creation of a foreign trade zone (FTZs) in that province.

Public Eye has reported, “A foreign trade zone is a location where tariffs are reduced or eliminated and goods can be stored duty or tax-free.” A Global TV report highlights that a FTZ is not just about the temporary storage of goods in a sprawling area of warehouses, but it includes the assembly of those goods too.

In mid-May it was reported that the consultant hired by the BC government will have just four months to report on the advisability of a foreign trade zone in British Columbia. In June, we speculated that this could mean by mid-September. This evening, the Delta Optimist reports, “That study has been completed and the government is currently reviewing the findings. …The findings of the study done for the B.C. government will be made public later this year.”

That Optimist article also notes, “At Delta council a few weeks ago, local politicians raised questions including whether speculators buying up agricultural properties in South Delta are anticipating lands being converted for industrial purposes without Delta’s or the Agricultural Land Commission’s consent. Other concerns included whether municipal zoning regulations and taxes will be avoided by firms within the trade zones. Delta North MP Guy Gentner recently warned council a trade zone could become an autonomous authority within the community. Gentner said he received materials through an Freedom of Information Request including a ‘briefing note’ from IMS Worldwide Inc., a foreign trade zone consultant, stating local site controls on Canadian foreign trade zones should be restricted. In a recent letter to council, Susan Jones with the Boundary Bay Conservation Committee listed a myriad of concerns, including environmental impacts associated with establishing a foreign trade zone, coupled with the proposed doubling of container capacity at Deltaport.”

In mid-May, Council of Canadians BC-Yukon organizer Harjap Grewal raised concerns about the proposed foreign trade zone in a Global TV report. In late-June, the Council organized two public forums on the issue in Vancouver and Ladner. For Council blogs on this work and the proposed FTZ, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22foreign+trade+zones%22.