The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 31, 2014

Neosho foundation puts final touches on application for foreign trade zone

NEOSHO, Mo. — An application for a federally designated foreign trade zone in Neosho is nearly complete.

“We are putting the final touches on the application,” Neosho businessman Howard Birdsong said last week. He is working with the Neosho Area Business and Industrial Foundation on the project.

“That should hopefully be completed in seven to 10 days,” he said.

He said after completion, it would go to the grantee, the Springfield-Branson National Airport for review. Then the application package would go to the foreign trade zone board in Washington, D.C. It is overseen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“My personal hope is we will have that in the hands of the Washington board by the first of March and be approved in late spring or early summer,” Birdsong said. “There’s an awful lot of detail in the application.”

Birdsong said around 275 acres in the Neosho Industrial Park, including undeveloped property and existing buildings, is identified to be part of the foreign trade zone.

The plan was explained at a public meeting in October.

Companies and warehouses located in a foreign trade zone don’t make duty payments until products leave the zone and officially enter U.S. commerce, according to the Foreign Trade Zone Resource Center, an online source.

For example, a manufacturer may import a motor for its product that ordinarily would have a 4 percent duty rate. If it is shipped to a foreign trade zone, no duty is assessed at the time. When the end product is sold, there is sometimes no duty or a reduced duty is assessed. In other cases the full duty cost would be deferred.

Brian Weiler, director of the Southwest Missouri Foreign Trade Zone and director of the Springfield-Branson National Airport, said after he receives the application, there would be a due diligence procedure.

“We will go through and review it and ultimately bring it to the airport board,” Weiler said. “We will make a recommendation to the airport board.”

He said he didn’t expect any problems, because NABIFI had used a consultant recommended by him.

He said an extensive federal review procedure would follow approval by the airport board. Weiler said he couldn’t predict how long either procedure would take.

“This is our first magnet site application,” Weiler said. “We are excited about it. I really see no obstacles. The folks in Neosho have given this a lot of attention.”

He said NABIFI has been aggressive in pursuing the foreign trade zone status.

“They’re ahead of the game,” Weiler said. “That bodes well for Neosho and the whole region.”

Area companies

Area businesses designated as foreign trade zones by the federal government are Jarden Customer Solutions in Neosho and General Dynamics in Carthage, according to Brian Weiler, director of the Southwest Missouri Foreign Trade Zone.

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