Export symposium planned in Fulton County NY

The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth has begun preliminary work on organizing a fall symposium in Fulton County to help local businesses take advantage of opportunities for selling their products in foreign markets.

Townsend Leather Design showroom in Fulton County NY

Custom leather manufacturer Townsend Leather gained the Mohawk Valley’s sole Foreign Trade Zone designation this year at its Fulton County, NY, production facility. The FCCRG is planning an export symposium in the fall to help local businesses take advantage of foreign trade opportunities.

The export symposium will focus not only on encouraging small and large local companies to expand their sales markets, but also on demonstrating international trade opportunities to companies that may be interested in settling in Fulton County.

With initial sponsorship and participation by Empire State Development’s Global NY initiative and at least one Capital Region bank, CRG President Ron Peters is planning a one day symposium in the first half of October. Global NY is an initiative launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to offer “one-stop shopping to both foreign businesses looking to invest in New York and to local businesses who want to export globally.”

The event will focus on understanding and accessing available financing and loan packages, cutting through red tape and making connections. Peters said he also plans to approach Montgomery County economic development officials about participating in the event, with the goal of having representatives from at least 30 businesses involved.

Fulton County is ideally situated for the production and transportation of goods bound for international markets. Three interstate highways provide quick and direct access to New York City, Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia, as well as the deep-water Port of Albany and Albany International Airport. In fact, there are 21 international airports within a four-hour drive of Fulton County.

Fulton County is also part of Foreign-Trade Zone #121, which allows individual businesses to apply to have their facilities designated as international commerce zones. In these federally approved areas (industrial parks or individual manufacturing or distribution facilities) materials can be imported without the payment of U.S. Customs duties as long as the goods stay in the FTZ.  Once the goods leave the FTZ for U.S. consumption, reduced tariffs are available. FTZ sites remain within the jurisdiction of local and state governments, but are subject to spot checks and periodic inspections by Customs.

In March 2016, Townsend Leather became the first Fulton County company to receive Foreign Trade Zone status from the U.S. Department of Commerce since a former eyeglass manufacturer achieved FTZ status in 1996. Townsend’s FTZ designation – the only one currently active in the Mohawk Valley – allows the custom leather manufacturer to avoid paying tariffs before shipping in raw leather and chemicals from outside the U.S. to its Townsend Avenue plant, as well as take advantage of reduced levies on custom leathers it sells in the United States using materials sourced overseas.

Townsend employs more than 140 people in Fulton County to create high-quality and custom leathers for aviation, hospitality, residential, yachting and other specialty-end uses.

Corporate site selector Michael Mullis of JM Mullis, Inc. has called the Fulton Montgomery Region a prime area for businesses looking for a New York location because of the transportation infrastructure and availability of shovel-ready sites and natural resources.

Specific dates, locations and seminars for the symposium will be available as they are finalized at FCCRG.org.