LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The City of Lufkin is a step closer to being designated as a Foreign-Trade Zone. The city submitted its name for the designation back in October.
Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a letter in support of Lufkin becoming a Foreign-Trade Zone. The letter to the Foreign-Trade Zones Board is dated March 13 and was also signed by Texas Rep. Trent Ashby and Texas State Sen. Robert Nichols.
Abbott joins several organizations and lawmakers who support the move, including Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert, the Lukin City Council, the Deep East Texas Council of Governments and Angelina County commissioners.
“An FTZ designation would result in a positive impact on employment, trade and overall economic development in Lufkin, Angelina County and the surrounding area," according to the letter signed by Abbott, Nichols and Ashby. “Approval of this application would assist the city’s economic development efforts in attracting new companies, both domestic and international, while providing increased benefits for current companies looking for international trade opportunities.”
In October, Lufkin Economic Development Director Bob Samford spoke to KTRE about what the designation would mean for the Lufkin economy.
“When you bring in goods from overseas, they’re subject to an import tariff,” Samford said. “If we have the designation they could bring those goods into the designated area in a designated location and they would be duty-free.”
With the use of the FTZ, area businesses could use their imported products, without the imposed federal tax and in turn manufacture, assemble and ship out their goods to other companies across the nation. That would give businesses another incentive to come to Lufkin and Angelina County.
The next step is to send the application to the federal Foreign-Trade Zones Board, which will decide if Lufkin qualifies for the designation.
If approved, Lufkin would join 32 other locations in Texas that have the distinction.