Man standing in warehouse in front of packing shelves

After months of negotiation, Tri-Link, the Foreign Trade Zone experts, has received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow importing, storing, and re-certifying of any goods still in containers in its 3PL warehouses located in Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

Tri-Link becomes the first EPA approved 3PL FTZ

This is incredible news for all companies who have experienced delayed delivery because of recent EPA changes. Many new requirements have come down the pipeline as a result of the EPA being significantly empowered under the Biden Administration. As new initiatives are implemented, businesses will need to grapple with the changing red tape and bureaucracy that comes with restrictions that often accompany these laws.

Tri-Link has been working with the EPA and Importers on the best practices, strategies, and procedures that must be met and adhered to continue through the primary points of entry in the U.S. With this recent news, importers now have a channel to bring in their goods, get them evaluated by the EPA, and update labeling or packaging as needed before delivery.

This industry is always changing and Tri-Link continues to demonstrate how it will stay ahead of changes, laws, and guidelines to better help businesses navigate Importing and Exporting red flags.

The cost benefit of Foreign Trade Zones

Foreign Trade Zones, or FTZ’s, are designated areas within the U.S. where companies can import goods with deferred or reduced border costs. Everyday items brought into the U.S. pass through customs border patrol and are assessed based on some of the worst liabilities in business; taxes, levies, and tariffs. These costs can be significant, but with the help of a Foreign Trade Zone they can be deferred, reduced and delayed, putting the Importer in control of when and even how much they pay in taxes.

It’s a little-known secret, but everything from tractor tires and plastic resin to airline wine and raw sugar passes through Foreign Trade Zones on their way through the supply chain.

When using a Foreign Trade Zone, some of the benefits include:  

  • Exportation Requirements 
  • Duty Deferral or Elimination
  • Inverted Tariff Relief
  • Ad Valorem Tax Relief
  • Damaged or Non-Conforming Inspection
  • Exportation Requirements

Companies that range from multinational enterprise corporations to privately owned businesses use Foreign Trade Zones; and with 30 years of experience, Tri-Link truly helps businesses benefit as much as possible from implementing an FTZ strategy into their operations.

Foreign Trade Zones vs Bonded Warehouses

Importing and exporting in the U.S. presents many obstacles to business owners, many of which can come up spontaneously, without warning, and often carry significant operational or cost burdens.

As a result, designated areas around the country have been established and zoned to help these businesses better manage their inventory and proactively pivot around any potential roadblocks that might come their way. Two examples of these areas are Bonded Warehouses and Foreign Trade Zones. There are significant differences between these two so we will dive a little deeper to understand what they are.

Foreign Trade Zone

A foreign trade zone is a designated warehouse or space within a warehouse that is considered to be OUTSIDE U.S. customs territory and is used for the purpose of storing, manufacturing, inspection or distribution, similar to a bonded warehouse. The main point here is the FTZ is zoned and considered to NOT be part of U.S. territory which means CBP fees, duty fees, tariffs and other importing taxes are deferred, delayed and even eliminated. Goods can be stored in an FTZ for as long as the General Operator will allow them to be stored!

  • Outside U.S. Customs Territory
  • Indefinite Storage
  • No CBP, Tariffs, Duty Fees

Bonded Warehouse

A bonded warehouse is a space within U.S. territory where companies can import goods for inspection, manufacturing, storing or distribution. The important distinction here is that a bonded warehouse is WITHIN U.S. territory. What this means is that tariffs and CBP fees will need to be paid before these goods can enter these zones. There are still benefits provided, similar to an FTZ, but with the required cost upfront. Additionally, goods can only be stored in a bonded warehouse for a maximum of 5 years.

  • Inside U.S. Territory
  • 5 Years Maximum Storage
  • Duty Fees and Tariffs Must Be Paid

When comparing the two, it’s easy to see where a Foreign Trade Zone can hold significant advantages over a Bonded Warehouse.

The Importing and Exporting business is built on long standing relationships and with 30 years of experience, TriLink has a deep understanding of how these relationships operate. In addition, Tri-Link is the only FTZ operator that has been EPA approved, allowing an avenue for the backlog of goods on EPA hold at U.S. ports to finally flow freely.

Companies Importing Given EPA Admittance

Any time spent reading business articles will quickly reveal a picture around US ports and docks that isn’t very pretty. Cargo ships have been delayed offloading their containers for record lengths of time and although there was some hope in the summer, it appears with the new health regulations being implemented, flu season in full swing, and not having enough hands, this winter could be a repeat of 2020.

The EPA has recently been given more attention, and as a result, many of their requirements are being enforced and upheld. This has caused additional delays in ports of entry, where products were previously approved and allowable under old guidelines or given a blind eye and passed without question.

With the global push for cheaper, faster, and better renewable energy options, agencies like the EPA will continue to keep private organizations and enterprises in check.

Tri-Link has been a Foreign Trade Zone expert and General Operator for 30 years, developing systems, operations and procedures that have become the backbone of the U.S. Import and Export industry. With recent EPA approval, Tri-Link now adds the ability to strategize through government environmental regulation to its impressive list of 3PL services and features.

For over 30 years, Tri-link has strategizing around inventory management, packaging, warehouses, taxes and tariff deferrals, EPA importing guidelines, efficiency auditing, and regulatory clearance.