What is the GKCFTZ?
The Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone, Inc. (GKCFTZ) is a grantee of the national Foreign Trade Zone program. The GKCFTZ partners with businesses in the Kansas City area to help them establish Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) for their manufacturing and distribution facilities. GKCFTZ supports economic growth and American competitiveness by allowing companies in FTZ’s to source cost-competitive assemblies from overseas without paying Customs duties for U.S. workers to use and incorporate into final products for domestic consumption or export. In addition, companies can also competitively source other merchandise and consumer goods on the same basis (duty-unpaid) for U.S. workers to store, repackage and distribute throughout the U.S. or to export. The value-added to the U.S economy by the jobs performed by U.S. workers is a significant economic benefit to the U.S. and keeps the cost of these U.S. products and merchandise competitive with products and merchandise imported from foreign countries. It is through this process that trade zones create incentives for firms to maintain and expand business in the United States, as well as entice foreign companies to bring their business to the United States.
It’s Rich History
The Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone has been around for a long time and is very rich in history. GKCFTZ has been the grantee since 1974 and was the first non-profit to be designated as such. It was in 1970 and 1971 that Marshall Miller published an article in the Virginia Journal of International Law on Foreign-Trade Zone Manufacturing. At the same time, Henry Bloch (President of H&R Block), Donald Hall (Chairman of Hallmark Cards) and Charles Kimble (Chairman of Midwest Research Institute) were looking at international trade in Kansas City for the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. This group asked Marshall Miller to structure the program and obtain the approval for a Foreign-Trade Zone in Kansas City, which came to be in 1974.
Keeping up with the Times
Today, the GKCFTZ is one of the largest zones in the United States with over 450 million square feet of approved foreign trade zone space. This space includes both General Purpose and Subzone space. The GKCFTZ has two foreign trade zones that they sponsor; one in greater Kansas City, Kansas and the other in greater Kansas City, Missouri. Their Kansas zone serves the needs of nine counties and their Missouri zone serves 22 counties. Companies located in these zones employ over 3,000 full-time workers which generates $3.1 billion in added value activity, either to merchandise entering the United States or exiting through exports to other countries.
The GKCFTZ has a unique advantage because of their location in the center of the United States. The superior highway, rail, air, and water barge transportation infrastructure here in the Heart of America provides companies with access to a population base of 155.6 million consumers within a two-day time. This has caused the organization to become one of the leaders in international trade activity as America’s inland port solution.
The Effect of the Pandemic
The looming question of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected this organization has not gone overlooked by its leaders. It is not news that there have been supply chain issues as a result of the pandemic to those in international trade. Unlike other businesses, this has created a unique advantage for the GKCFTZ as foreign trade zones are beneficial for keeping inventory on hand because the goods and merchandise are admitted duty unpaid. Once goods or merchandise is in a foreign trade zone, it can be stored, processed, repackaged, transformed, destroyed or handled in various ways which provides value-added work before it leaves the foreign trade zone, which is when formal entry is filed.
Thanks to Mary Rooney and Alfred Figuly for sharing information about the Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone, Inc.!
Alfred J. Figuly, President, CEO
Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone, Inc.