U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board

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U s e   o f   F T Z s   D u r i n g   W o r l d   W a r   I I

The New York Zone (FTZ 1) contributed to the U.S. war effort by presenting itself as a convenient place for the National Defense Program to stockpile and prepare raw materials intended for defense purposes. Starting as early as 1940 the zone held “stock piles of tungsten ore, Chilean copper, antimony and other metals…” Duty and tax benefits within the zone helped minimize the cost of acquiring and stockpiling these raw materials thus helping the government anticipate our entry into the war. The importance of this contribution to the war effort was summarized in the 1941-42 Annual Report to Congress which asserted that the FTZ program enabled the Federal Government, “…to acquire strategic supplies for war purposes which, except for the existence of the foreign-trade zone, might never have reached our shores.”

By 1942 after the U.S. had entered the war, the New York Zone was utilized for humanitarian tasks related to the war effort, including the labeling and repacking of food, cigarettes and other supplies to be shipped to the International Red Cross in Geneva for distribution to American and allied prisoners of war in Europe.