Sault Ste. Marie has received official designation as a foreign trade zone (FTZ) point.
In an announcement expected at 2:30 p.m. today, Sault MP Terry Sheehan and Mélanie Joly, minister of economic development and official languages and minister responsible for FedNor, will disclose that the Sault has been selected as northern Ontario's first FTZ point, one of 15 in Canada.
"The designation will help spur trade and enhance Sault Ste. Marie’s position as a multi-modal transportation hub," Minister Joly's press secretary advised local news outlets in a news release distributed early this morning, indicating that the information should be withheld from publication until 2:30 p.m.
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"The area will be more attractive to businesses and foreign direct investment by offering a single point of access to resources and information relating to programs that relieve duties, tariffs and taxes for businesses engaged in importing and exporting," the release stated.
"Strategically located at the heart of the Great Lakes, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is ideally situated to foster trade between Canada and the U.S., two countries with the largest two-way trading relationship in the world."
"Boasting land, rail, air and seaway entry points, this major transportation hub offers unparalleled access to global markets, including more than 60 million consumers within 800 kilometres."
Today's announcement will stress that FedNor played a major role in working with city partners to achieve the FTZ designation.
"This stamp of approval will help Sault Ste. Marie on the path to a strong recovery for years to come,” Sault MP Terry Sheehan says in the release.
"Today’s announcement is great news for Sault Ste. Marie which is a key point of entry for many goods. The FTZ point designation will build on the area’s natural strengths while presenting new opportunities for trade for the region’s advanced manufacturing and emerging industries," Sheehan said.
“Sault Ste. Marie’s geographic location and skilled work force position our community to benefit from increased cross border commercial business," said Mayor Christian Provenzano, adding that: "point designation represents a new option to market and promote our advantages."
“Economic recovery is paramount in building back shared prosperity in Sault Ste. Marie," said Rory Ring, chief executive officer at Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.
"Our organization is excited about the opportunities that the foreign trade zone point designation will afford members and local businesses. By adding more tools to the tool box we can ensure a strong, diversified and sustainable northern economy. We look forward to working with the City of Sault Ste. Marie in helping businesses take advantage of the various incentives, tax and duty programs,” Ring said.
Said Minister Joly: "By designating Sault Ste. Marie as the first foreign trade zone point in northern Ontario, we are helping the area access global markets and attract investments. This, in turn, will create local jobs, boost trade and export opportunities for existing businesses while reinforcing the community’s position as a integral hub and a key contributor to the economy.”
The federal news release today included the following notes:
- an FTZ point refers to one of Canada’s strategic locations for international trade, where an organization with a mandate to promote local trade and foreign direct investment is uniquely supported by a single point of access to information on relevant government policies and programs
- the FTZ point designation improves access to existing programs and promotes Canada’s advantage. It allows the region to coordinate to provide programs that benefit businesses, such as the Duty Deferral Program, the Duties Relief Program, the Drawback Program, the Customs Bonded Warehouse Program and the Export Distribution Centre Program
- to establish the Sault Ste. Marie FTZ point, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. partnered with the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corp., Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority, and City of Sault Ste. Marie Transportation/Infrastructure Task Force
- the economic development department of the City of Sault Ste. Marie will lead efforts to establish an FTZ Point Task Force with representation from various levels of government and the private sector, as well as develop a service delivery model