January 29 - GAC North America - Logistics has been awarded a license to operate as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) in Houston, making it just the second logistics company in the city to secure such a status.

"To qualify for the license, we had to demonstrate that the management system at our Houston warehouse facility in Houston met US Customs requirements," says Jana Rodrigues, vice president - key accounts. "A walkthrough and inspection confirmed that it is indeed a tightly secured operation with 100 percent accuracy with our records."
Organisations active in the oil and gas industry - in particular drilling companies - operating out of Houston are among those that stand to benefit, claims Rodrigues. Drillers will be able to store spare equipment on a duty free basis within the FTZ until required by rigs in the Mexican Gulf.
FTZs are secure areas under the supervision of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), designed to encourage foreign commerce. They are considered to be outside the Customs territory of the United States with regards to the payment of duty.
Merchandise may be admitted into FTZs for storage, exhibition, manipulation, destruction, assembly, manufacture and processing, without being subject to formal CBP entry procedures and payment of duties, unless and until the foreign merchandise enters the US Customs territory for domestic consumption.