Mayor seeks expansion of foreign trade zone to City Centre

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Mayor Scott Avedisian has written to Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryeor and Commerce RI’s Board of Directors in support for a proposal to expand Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #105 to include land surrounding City Centre Warwick.  

Avedisian was part of a Rhode Island delegation of more than a dozen businesses, trade groups and tourism officials who traveled to Ireland last month on a trade mission. In his correspondence to Commerce RI officials, Avedisian noted that the trip afforded him numerous opportunities to have productive discussions related to the advantages of hosting additional FTZs in Rhode Island.  

Among the benefits of a FTZ are a duty exemption on re-exports, duty elimination on manufacturing, repacking, no duty on rejected or defective parts, relief from inverted tariffs and duty deferral, and no duty on domestic content or sales to the U.S. military or NASA. 

With the completion of the airport runway expansion, and a cooperative effort between the city and state to foster a competitive local business climate, he pointed to parcels adjacent to City Centre Warwick as an ideal location for the FTZ.  

“It is my belief that expansion of the Foreign Trade Zone status in Warwick would help the city and state attract new businesses,” Avedisian said.

 Avedisian noted that the Ccty, partnering with Commerce RI, RI Department of Transportation, and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, has been working to promote City Centre Warwick and the surrounding area as a new center of business for the region, and that these efforts have resulted in recent construction of the $23-million Hyatt hotel and Proclamation Ale’s new brewery and tasting facility, with several other major mixed-use projects are currently in the exploratory phase. The Hilton Garden Inn and Iron Works Tavern, developed some years ago, are flourishing in the district, Avedisian said in a release.

 “These projects are creating new and renewed interest relative to the enormous economic development opportunities in City Centre. Most certainly, a FTZ supporting City Centre Warwick and the surrounding environs would benefit businesses that presently exist in the area and would be an added incentive to draw new businesses looking to locate in Warwick,” Avedisian wrote.

Further, the City Centre Warwick Market Segmentation Analysis (2013) specifically recommends the expansion of Foreign Trade Zone #105 to support shipping and logistics clusters in and around City Centre.   The study also highlights the advantages that an expanded Foreign Trade Zone designation may provide to attract biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, Avedisian said.

An expansion of the FTZ would add to three existing locations in Rhode Island: 32 acres at the Port of Providence, a 43-acre area at the Airport Business Park adjacent to T.F. Green and 880 acres within the Quonset Business Park that have been so designated.

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