Foreign Trade Zones

Kelo vs New London.... The Rest of the Story

December 10, 2006



I've just started researching 'economic zones' that are being established in the U.S. There are several different types of zones

Foreign Trade Zones - 


Hubzones - 

Intermodal Commerce zones


Apparently, application is made to the 'Foreign Trade Zones Board' (see below) for zone designation. The zones have a 'private board' that chooses who can locate within the zone. The Foreign Trade Zone is designated for a class of businesses but they can request designations of subzones within the FTZ for specific purposes. In other words, the Board of a zone can put anything they want in a FTZ as long as the U.S. Dept of Commerce grants the subzone status.

The businesses within the zones are highly priviledged and receive a myriad of benefits from elimination tariffs and taxes to preferences on government contracts. Businesses outside the privileged zones are competing at a significant disadvantage to businesses within the zones.

After looking at this, I have to say that I can't think of anything more un-American than these zones. And that feeling was amplified when I saw FTZ 208 on the list: 

208A Pfizer, Inc.

FTZ No. 208 New London
Grantee: New London Foreign Trade Zone Commission
111 Union Street, New London, CT 06320
Ned Hammond (860) 447-5203

It makes me think that there was a whole lot more to the Kelo vs New London case than we were led to believe. My guess would be that the U.S. Dept of Commerce created a Foreign Trade Zone in that area and gave Phizer the franchise. Because of the FTZ designation, it was really out of the hands of New London CT. So why didn't New London fight the designation (check their bank accounts and assets before and after)? Maybe it had something to do with New London being on the hit list during the last BRAC round of military facility closings? What I wonder was why the attorney representing the property owners in New London was fighting the city when he should have been challenging the 'Foreign Trade Zone' law.

According to this protest website that was created during the Kelo vs New London battle, "Phizer has already gotten 24 acres of prime waterfront land for $10. They were given a ten year 80% reduction in city real-estate taxes and $3,000,000/year reduction in sales taxes related to construction costs."

I found another organization promoting FTZ's. It's called NAFTZ.

It occurs to me that the U.S. Dept of Commerce could have designated the entire route for the Trans-Texas Corridor and the CANAMEX as 'Foreign Trade Zones' and put them under the control of a private board - like NASCO. If that's the case, and people try to fight to save their property based on eminent domain laws, they will lose because the designation of FTZ effectively creates a 'foreign island' on U.S. soil. I'm not an attorney but it seems to me that when a challenge is made, you have to direct the challenge to the source of the problem and not just a peripheral part of it.


History of FTZ's

Subzone: A special-purpose zone established as part of a zone project for a limited purpose that cannot be accommodated within an existing General Purpose Zone. Subzones must be sponsored by the grantee of a General Purpose Zone.

John J. Da Pont

Remarks for the NAFTZ 25th Annual - retrieved from web archive