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Glossary of FTZ Terms

Act. “Act” means the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of June 18, 1934, as amended (48 Stat. 998-1003; 19 U.S.C. 81a-u).

Activation. “Activation” means approval by the grantee and port director for operations and for the admission and handling of merchandise in zone status.

Admit. “Admit” means to bring merchandise into a zone with zone status.

Alteration. “Alteration” means a change in the boundaries of an activated zone or subzone; activation of a separate site of an already-activated zone or subzone with the same operator at the same port; or the relocation of an already-activated site with the same operator.

“Applicant” means a corporation applying for the right to establish, operate, and maintain a foreign-trade zone;

“Board” means the Board which is established to carry out the provisions of 19 U.S.C. 81. The Board shall consist of the Secretary of Commerce, who shall be chairman and executive officer of the Board, and the Secretary of the Treasury;

Conditionally admissible merchandise. “Conditionally admissible merchandise” is merchandise which may be imported into the U.S. under certain conditions. Merchandise which is subject to permits or licenses, or which may be reconditioned to bring it into compliance with the laws administered by various Federal agencies, is an example of conditionally admissible merchandise.

Constructive transfer. “Constructive transfer” is a legal fiction which permits acceptance of a Customs entry for merchandise in a zone before its physical transfer to the Customs territory.

Customs territory. “Customs territory” is the territory of the U.S. in which the general tariff laws of the U.S. apply. “Customs territory of the United States” includes only the States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. (General Note 2, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (19 U.S.C. 1202)).

Deactivation. “Deactivation” means voluntary discontinuation of the activation of an entire zone or subzone by the grantee or operator. Discontinuance of the activated status of only a part of a zone site is an alteration.

Default. “Default” means an action or omission that will result in a claim for duties, taxes, charges, or liquidated damages under the Foreign Trade Zone Operator Bond.

Domestic merchandise. “Domestic merchandise” is merchandise which has been (i) produced in the U.S. and not exported therefrom, or (ii) previously imported into Customs territory and properly released from Customs custody.

Entered for warehouse. “Entered for warehouse” means that an entry summary for warehouse has been filed with CBP in proper form, including electronic submission to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) or any other CBP-authorized electronic data interchange system.

Foreign merchandise. “Foreign merchandise” is imported merchandise which has not been properly released from Customs custody in Customs territory.

Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ). “Foreign-Trade Zones” are secure areas under U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervision that are generally considered outside CBP territory upon activation. Located in or near CBP ports of entry, they are the United States’ version of what are known internationally as free-trade zones. Foreign and domestic merchandise may be moved into zones for operations, not otherwise prohibited by law, including storage, exhibition, assembly, manufacturing, and processing. All zone activity is subject to public interest review. Foreign-trade zone sites are subject to the laws and regulations of the United States as well as those of the states and communities in which they are located. Under zone procedures, the usual formal CBP entry procedures and payments of duties are not required on the foreign merchandise unless and until it enters CBP territory for domestic consumption, at which point the importer generally has the choice of paying duties at the rate of either the original foreign materials or the finished product. Domestic goods moved into the zone for export may be considered exported upon admission to the zone for purposes of excise tax rebates and drawback.

Fungible merchandise. “Fungible merchandise” means merchandise which for commercial purposes is identical and interchangeable in all situations.

“Grantee” means a corporation to which the privilege of establishing, operating, and maintaining a foreign-trade zone has been granted

Merchandise. “Merchandise” includes goods, wares and chattels of every description, except prohibited merchandise. Building materials, production equipment, and supplies for use in operation of a zone are not “merchandise” for the purpose of this part.

Operator. “Operator” is a corporation, partnership, or person that operates a zone or subzone under the terms of an agreement with the zone grantee. Where used in this part, the term “operator” also applies to a “grantee” that operates its own zone.

Port Director. For those foreign trade zones located within the geographical limits of a port of entry, the term “port director” means the director of that port of entry. For those foreign trade zones located outside the geographical limits of a port of entry, the term “port director” means the director of the port of entry geographically nearest to where the foreign trade zone is located.

Prohibited merchandise. “Prohibited merchandise” is merchandise the importation of which is prohibited by law on grounds of public policy or morals, or any merchandise which is excluded from a zone by order of the Board. Books urging treason or insurrection against the U.S., obscene pictures, and lottery tickets are examples of prohibited merchandise.

Reactivation. “Reactivation” means a resumption of the activated status of an entire area that was previously deactivated without any change in the operator or the area boundaries. If the boundaries are different, the action is an alteration. If the operator is different, it is an activation.

“Secretary” means the Secretary of Commerce

Subzone. “Subzone” is a special-purpose zone established as part of a zone project for a limited purpose, that cannot be accommodated within an existing zone. The term “zone” also applies to a subzone, unless specified otherwise.

Transfer. “Transfer” means to take merchandise with zone status from a zone for consumption, transportation, exportation, warehousing, cartage or lighterage, vessel supplies and equipment, admission to another zone, and like purposes.

Unique identifier. “Unique identifier” means the numbers, letters, or combination of numbers and letters that identify merchandise admitted to a zone with zone status.

User. “User” means a person or firm using a zone or subzone for storage, handling, or processing of merchandise.

“Zone” means a “foreign-trade zone”

Zone lot. “Zone lot” means a collection of merchandise maintained under an inventory control method based on specific identification of merchandise admitted to a zone by lot.

Zone site. “Zone site” means the physical location of a zone or subzone.

Zone status. “Zone status” means the status of merchandise admitted to a zone, i.e., nonprivileged foreign, privileged foreign, zone restricted, or domestic.