As Trump Moves to Erect Trade Barriers, 'Foreign Trade Zones' Aim to Take Them Down

Stateline: This tiny truck-stop town, 90 miles southeast of Denver and home to fewer than 2,000 people, is flanked on all sides by endless, undulating hills. Limon’s busiest areas are its two interstate exits, where truckers and road-trippers pull over to grab gas or fast food.

There’s no major airport here, nor are there big companies that depend on international trade. Yet civil leaders believe they can boost the local economy by thinking big: Limon recently set up its own foreign trade zone, or FTZ, a designation that can help domestic and foreign-owned companies lower their customs duties and fees.

Hundreds of cities and counties have created foreign trade zones since the 1930s in a bid to attract and retain employers. As President Donald Trump announces new tariffs and threatens to scrap longtime free trade agreements, the zone program may attract more interest from companies and communities.

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