SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Southeastern North Carolina has received approval to expand Foreign-Trade Zone 214, Governor Pat McCrory announced Tuesday.
New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Bladen and Columbus counties are among the 22 counties in the expanded area.
According to officials, the expansion of the trade zone will make "the region more attractive to businesses looking to relocate or expand and increasing the region's competitiveness in global trade."
"Expansion of southeastern North Carolina's foreign-trade zone supports our goal to create jobs by helping attract new businesses and encouraging existing companies to expand," Gov. McCrory said. "This announcement will help connect North Carolina to more global trade and help our state attract manufacturing jobs returning to the United States."
Along with the five counties listed above, the expansion includes Duplin, Robeson (the portion east of I-95), Beaufort, Pitt, Hyde, Onslow, Jones, Craven, Pamlico, Lenoir, Carteret, Wilson, Edgecombe, Nash, Wayne, Greene and Cumberland, overseen by the United States Customs and Border Protection at the Wilmington, Morehead City and Raleigh-Durham ports of entry.
"Simply stated, the time it takes a company to attain the benefits of foreign-trade zone status is currently measured in months," Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. "Under the new model, it will be measured in weeks. This designation will be a game changer for local economic developers who will use this tool to attract companies that cannot afford to wait months for approval of their FTZ site."