Miami International becomes a foreign free trade zone

Posted: 15 February 2018 | | No comments yet

Miami International’s new status will allow companies to receive and process materials and merchandise with reduced or eliminated customs duties upon entry into the country.

Miami Airport's cargo flying high into 2022 after record-breaking year

NEW STATUS: MIA’s west cargo area – part of the new FTZ magnet site

The Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) has announced it has gained final approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce to designate Miami International Airport’s entire 3,230-acre land parcel as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) magnet site.

The magnet site designation allows existing or prospective airport tenants to operate manufacturing, warehousing and/or distribution centres on airport property, and have their federal tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated – providing time and cost savings for approved importers and exporters.

The new magnet site – an expansion of Miami-Dade County’s existing FTZ 281 – will allow companies to receive and process materials and merchandise with reduced or eliminated customs duties upon entry into the country at MIA.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said: “The MIA FTZ creates and attractive business opportunity for companies to begin or expand their operations directly on-site at the passenger and cargo gateway of the Americas. Congratulations to the MIA team for achieving this significant milestone, which has strong potential for new business revenue and job creation in our community.”

The county’s Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, also Chairman of the County Economic Development and Tourism Committee, added: “I commend the Aviation Department and PortMiami, for bringing this important designation to MIA and to Miami-Dade County.

“Because of their efforts with our federal partners, MIA can be an even larger economic engine for our community.”

Companies handling high-traffic commodities at MIA – pharmaceuticals, electronics, textiles, footwear, auto parts, aircraft parts, avionics, machinery equipment, consumer goods and perishables – are expected to be FTZ applicants. To be an FTZ operator, companies must first complete an application with PortMiami – the grantee of FTZ 281 – and then receive approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The expedited application process takes approximately 30 days.

FTZ 281 encompasses land from S.W. 8th Street to the Broward County line, and from Miami Beach in the east to the Urban Development line in the west. Companies within an FTZ are able to defer paying duties only when product exits the site, reduce duties on combined finished products instead of on each individual product, and eliminate duties on products being imported to the site and then exported.

In 2016, MIA’s air trade was valued at $57.3 billion – representing 92 percent of the value of Florida’s total air trade and 40 percent of the state’s total (air and sea) trade with the world.

PortMiami Director and CEO Juan M. Kuryla said: “Six years after being approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce, FTZ 281 has more than 65 approved sites. Adding MIA as a magnet site is a huge accomplishment. It makes Miami a more competitive global gateway for growing international trade and commerce in Miami-Dade County. We welcome MIA to FTZ281.”


The FTZ magnet site follows other business development initiatives launched recently by MDAD, including: MIA’s first e-commerce workshop with more than 30 local air cargo industry stakeholders in January, with the goal of establishing Miami-Dade County as one of the world’s leading e-commerce hubs; Florida’s first-ever ocean-to-air perishables trans-shipment programme last February, which allows perishable freight from local seaports to be trucked to MIA and depart by air without Customs duties; and MIA’s pharma hub designation by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which certifies that pharma products are transported in accordance with global best practices. Four MIA pharma hub partners became IATA-certified in 2017, and MIA’s pharma trade has grown in value from $1.8 billion 2010 to $4.4 billion in 2016. MIA was named “Best Freighter Hub” in the world by Freighter World magazine in 2017.