Panama City, FL (Nov. 10, 2008) – The Panama City – Bay County International Airport Authority has directed Airport Executive Director Randy Curtis to evaluate the options for establishing a Foreign trade zone at the new international airport currently under construction in West Bay.
“The airport board believes it is important to establish a Foreign Trade Zone at the new airport in order to maximize its economic development potential,” said Airport Authority chairman Joe Tannehill. “Having a foreign trade status at the new airport will put us in another category altogether and be an important differentiator in competing for new jobs and business expansions.”
The action taken by the Airport Authority is in consideration of extensive statistics documenting the importance of foreign trade to the Florida economy. It noted that establishing a Foreign Trade Zone at the new Panama City – Bay County airport would make the new facility one of 10 airports in Florida.
Airport board members agreed that Foreign Trade Zone in West Bay would benefit the community and the region by facilitating and expediting international trade, providing special customs procedures as a public service to help firms conduct business, encouraging and facilitating exports, attracting offshore activity, assisting state/local economic development efforts and creating employment opportunities.
The action taken directs Airport Executive Director Randy Curtis to begin immediately preliminary work to create a Foreign Trade Zone at the new international airport in WestBay.
Specifically, the board asked Curtis to develop options for the airport board to consider concerning the size and boundaries of the trade zone, including a discussion of the costs and benefits associated with each option presented. Further, the board asked Curtis to investigate public/private partnerships to stimulate intermodal infrastructure development.
Florida Trade Facts:
The U.S. is the world’s largest trading nation, exporting nearly $1.3 trillion in goods and services and more than one-fifth of the growth in U.S. GDP depends on exports. (1)
Manufacturing exports support an estimated 5.2 million jobs, including 1 in 5 manufacturing jobs, and jobs supported by goods exports pay 13-18% higher than the average wage. (2)
More than 30,000 companies export from Florida locations, including more than 28,000 small and medium-sized businesses. (3)
Florida’s export shipments of merchandise in 2007 totaled $45 billion, up 80 percent from $25 billion in 2003, ranking sixth among the states in terms of total exports in 2007, and exporting to 222 foreign destinations. (4)
1 – Office of the United States Trade Representative, 2005 data (latest available).
2 – Office of the United States Trade Representative, 2002 data (latest available).
3- International Trade Administration and Bureau of the Census, Foreign Trade Division (2006 data).
4 – Revised Origin of Movement State Export Series, Bureau of the Census, Foreign Trade Division (2007 data).
The Panama City Bay County International Airport
Randy Curtis, Executive Director, 850-763-6751 ext. 203