You are here: Home » Business Development » Foreign Trade Zone

Foreign Trade Zone

A foreign trade zone (FTZ) can be a very beneficial tool for a company involved in foreign trade.  It is a designated area in which foreign and domestic merchandise is generally considered by the U.S. government as being outside U.S. Customs territory. Merchandise may be brought into an FTZ without a formal customs entry, import quotas and most other import restrictions. Duties and excise taxes are not assessed until the merchandise enters U.S. commerce.

The Port of Houston Authority manages a foreign trade zone which includes many privately owned and port-owned sites located throughout Houston and Harris County, Texas. The Houston Zone offers users special benefits. For example, customs duties on imported goods entering the FTZ can be delayed until the cargo is removed from the zone. No duty is paid if the merchandise is exported directly from the zone.

There are numerous benefits to using a Foreign Trade Zone.  Those benefits include:

Storage: Foreign and domestic merchandise may be stored within the zone for an unlimited period of time, thereby avoiding all duties and excise taxes.

Product Handling: Merchandise may be opened, examined, assembled, mixed, cleaned, labeled or repackaged within a zone.

Manufacturing: Products may be manufactured within a zone and may even include the combining of foreign and domestic merchandise.

Exhibiting: Merchandise may be displayed, sampled or examined within the zone.

Disposal: Waste materials and damaged or valueless merchandise may be destroyed within the zone to avoid duties.

Houston is an excellent choice for FTZ activities due to its strategic link to interior U.S. markets. Its location makes Houston an ideal distribution point for shippers sending goods to the U.S. West and Midwest. Shipping overland to these areas is easy because of direct access to a vast network of interstate highways and railroads, plus the fact that Houston is served by numerous airlines, railroads and motor freight companies.

Houston's FTZ includes many facilities located in the Houston area which offer a variety of services, allowing flexibility and diversity.  Those services include:

  • General purpose warehousing
  • Liquid bulk storage and blending
  • Steel and pipe storage
  • Pipe end finishing and heat treating

The Houston Foreign Trade Zone also offers more than 700 acres of zone-authorized land and building space for lease and development to companies wanting to conduct their own operations within the Houston FTZ.

Here are the benefits of the Houston FTZ.

For more information contact:
Shane Williams
Foreign Trade Zone Administrator
Telephone: 713-670-2487
Fax: 713-670-2639

Visit the Foreign Trade Zones Board Web site for more information about the U.S. Foreign Trade Zones Program.


The Port of Houston Authority

111 East Loop North
Houston, Texas USA 77029
Phone: 713-670-2400

P.O. Box 2562
Houston, Texas USA 77252-2562

Connect with us:



The Port of Houston Authority

111 East Loop North
Houston, Texas USA 77029
Phone: 713-670-2400

P.O. Box 2562
Houston, Texas USA 77252-2562

Please send us an email and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.