News & Information
Northwest Iowa Development Announces Foreign Trade Zone
February 2, 2015
January 9, 2014

Northwest Iowa is the country's newest foreign-trade zone. The Northwest Iowa Economic Development organization learned earlier this month that the six-county region of Cherokee, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, Plymouth and Sioux had received a grant of authority from the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board under the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This is only the fourth foreign-trade zone established in Iowa and the first in a rural area of the state. The designation is expected to help attract investment and boost trade in the Region.

"It's a tool for economic development," said Northwest Iowa Development chairman Steve Simons of Lyon County. "Receiving foreign-trade zone designation is exciting for us in northwest Iowa, and hopefully, for businesses that import and export in our six-county region. Economic Development professionals in our counties and communities look forward to working with businesses to evaluate their potential benefit from our foreign-trade zone status."

Bill Hooton from International Trade and Transportation Strategies Iowa consulted with the economic development organization on the application process. "It really benefits certain businesses and it can invite additional business to come to the region because they have easy access to that foreign-trade zone program," Hooton said. "You think about the wind energy industry and where those parts and components are made. Many of them are of foreign origin and those companies know this is a high growth area here in northwest Iowa for wind power growth."

A foreign-trade zone is a designated location in the United States where companies can use special procedures that help encourage U.S. activity and value added - in competition with foreign alternatives - by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise, as well as other savings.

Foreign Trade Zones benefit the public by helping to facilitate and expedite international trade, providing special customs procedures as a public service to help firms conduct international trade-related operations in competition with foreign plants, encouraging and facilitating exports, helping attract offshore activity and encouraging retention of domestic activity, assisting state and local economic development efforts, and helping create employment opportunities.
Foreign Trade Zones benefits the users by eliminating duties on or quota charges on re-exports, deferring customs duties and federal excise taxes, offering companies access to streamlined customs procedures, exemption of foreign goods and domestic goods from state and local inventory taxes and other benefits.

Northwest Iowa Development is a group of six counties and their communities creating a unified, targeted approach to developing and branding/marketing the Northwest Iowa region to attract quality new corporate locations and expansions and to attract skilled talent to support business growth. The counties that encompass Northwest Iowa include: Cherokee, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth and Sioux. For more information visit

Northwest Iowa Development
Foreign-Trade Zone 288-Northwest Iowa Application for Reorganization