New partnership to boost Port of Milwaukee

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:08 pm

A new partnership between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the Port of Milwaukee will make it easier for state businesses to take full advantage of the regional Foreign-Trade Zone.

The unique effort is designed to increase the participation in the Port’s Foreign-Trade Zone and boost international trade by managing tariffs and in some cases reducing or eliminating those fees.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett signed a resolution this week formalizing the partnership with WEDC.

“The Port of Milwaukee and WEDC have launched this cooperative effort so the businesses we serve can more efficiently and economically access foreign markets,” Barrett said. “As private businesses grow with foreign trade, Milwaukee benefits and so does the entire state. That’s why we started our work with the Foreign-Trade Zone, and that’s why we are advancing this partnership with WEDC.”

The WEDC is providing the Port of Milwaukee a Collaborative Market Access Grant of up to $50,000 to award to businesses to help offset the costs of applying for new or expanded Foreign Trade Zone status and the costs of a current Foreign-Trade Zone operator for ongoing staff education. The maximum a company is eligible to receive is $10,000 per fiscal year.

“To advance the Transform Milwaukee initiative, the Foreign-Trade Zone program was created to facilitate international trade and increase the global competitiveness of US-based companies,” said Gov. Scott Walker. “We’re forming this partnership to give businesses a competitive edge to take advantage of the Foreign-Trade Zone benefits.”

A Foreign-Trade Zone is an area within the United States, in or near a U.S. Customs Port of Entry, which is considered outside the U.S. Custom’s territory.

“Wisconsin is being a national leader in advancing a collaboration like this to simplify the process for businesses to fully utilize the Port of Milwaukee’s Foreign-Trade Zone,” said Lora Klenke, vice president of international development with WEDC.

The Port of Milwaukee was granted Foreign-Trade Zone No. 41 on Aug. 31, 2011.

The Port of Milwaukee is an economic entity of city government governed by the seven-member Board of Harbor Commissioners, a panel appointed by Barrett and confirmed by the Milwaukee Common Council.

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