By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — Chenango County and two Norwich companies have gleaned recognition under the federal Foreign-Trade Zone program, a designation officials said will boost international competitiveness and enhance local economic opportunities.
Development Chenango Corp., which is Commerce Chenango’s economic development department, will present details about the designation this morning. Economic development and business representatives, including officials from the two companies, will attend the public session at Commerce Chenango offices at 15 S. Broad Street in Norwich at 9:30 a.m.
The Foreign-Trade Zone designation is an important and exciting development for the county, said Commerce Chenango economic development coordinator Rebecca Sands, who was hired to oversee the application.
Development Chenango submitted the request on behalf of Chenango County with a $3,200 application fee for review by the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board in July, and it was approved Monday.
Foreign-Trade Zone designation can help facilitate and expedite international trade, provide special customs procedures to help firms conduct international business, support local economic development efforts and help create employment opportunities, the Foreign-Trade Zones Board website said.
Zone sites must be within or adjacent to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry. The Syracuse CBP, which serves Onondaga County, will be the port of entry for Chenango County.
No Foreign-Trade Zones designations have been approved in Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie counties.
In Chenango County, which applied under the Alternative Site Framework, the zone includes two initial “usage-driven’’ sites — Norwich Pharmaceuticals Inc. and CSW, Contract Packaging, both in Norwich. County and economic leaders and business officials said in documents supporting the application that Foreign-Trade Zone status can help companies grow in manufacturing, distribution and marketplace competitiveness.
Steve Craig, president and chief executive officer of Commerce Chenango and executive director of Development Chenango, and Sands will be joined this morning by Lawrence Wilcox, chairman of the Chenango County Board of Supervisors, and representatives from Norwich Pharmaceuticals and CWS.
In a letter supporting the application, Wilcox said the designation would help the county in attracting new businesses as well as allowing existing companies to expand operations.
Foreign-Trade Zone status also could help attract jobs and investments, the application said.
Manufacturing is the second highest source of employment in the county, accounting for about 18 percent of the employed population and about a fifth of personal income, application documents said. Educational, health-care and social assistance services are the No. 1 source of employment.
Terence Novak, president of Norwich Pharmaceuticals, also wrote in support of the zone designation. The firm’s sister company, Alvogen, would “benefit through speed to market and cost competitive position, thus driving higher volumes and activities’’ to the Norwich site, he said.
Norwich Pharmaceuticals provides development and manufacturing services for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.
The Foreign-Trade Zone division is part of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.