Legislative column from Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I-Canandaigua)
Recently, legislation to help Ontario County establish, operate and maintain Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) was signed into law. Working with Sen. Mike Nozzolio to advance this bill through both houses of the Legislature resulted in a victory for the families, businesses and local economies in the Finger Lakes region.
Ontario County will now apply to the U.S. Commerce Foreign Trade Zone Board to receive the designation. Once an FTZ is established, our local manufacturers will have new opportunities to achieve greater cost savings and defer duty payments on merchandise until the finished products enter the marketplace. The measure will also help local entrepreneurs become more globally competitive and reap the economic rewards of international trade.
Businesses in Livingston, Wayne, Seneca, Yates and Steuben counties will also benefit. With more customers and more orders to fill, our local businesses will be able to stay right here in the Finger Lakes, keeping quality jobs in our communities. Area businesses and economic development experts are looking forward to the potential benefits that this new, important designation can bring to the area.
“The impetus of a Foreign Trade Zone is to enhance the overall business environment and repatriate manufacturing that is currently taking place overseas,” Phil Dolci, President and CEO of Crosman Corporation said. “This measure provides Ontario County and the surrounding region with a mechanism to facilitate increased job creation, business growth and economic stability.”
“Having a Foreign Trade Zone for Ontario County and our five surrounding counties will create another economic development tool for our region,” Mike Manikowski, Ontario County Economic Development Director, said. “We have already seen strong interest from several area businesses that recognize a Foreign Trade Zone will save money and create jobs.”
The establishment of an FTZ in the Finger Lakes would not be possible without the help and support of an incredibly resourceful team of local small business owners, local officials and economic development experts. In addition to Mr. Dolci and Mr. Manikowski, the distinguished list of individuals who worked hard to support the establishment of an FTZ in Ontario County include: Stephen Griffin, CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center and the Yates County IDA; Julie Marshall, Deputy Director of the Livingston County Economic Development Office; the Ontario County Board of Supervisors; Robert Aronson, Executive Director of the Seneca County IDA; James C. Johnson, Executive Director of the Steuben County IDA; and Margaret Churchill, Executive Director and CEO of the Wayne County IDA.
The Finger Lakes region is ahead of the curve when it comes to its business environment, and an FTZ will only reinforce our position as a leader in New York. A recent study gave our region a grade of ‘A’ for small business friendliness, while the rest of the state collectively earned a D+. As we continue to move forward, it is important that we have all possible means at our disposal to create more jobs, strengthen the economies around our region and build on our strong business climate. An FTZ enables us to achieve these goals.