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.