Summary of Activities for Which the FTZ Board Has Approved Waivers

October 2016


As a reference, the FTZ Board staff has prepared the following simplified summary of the activities to date for which the FTZ Board has approved waivers for grantees’ contractors under the “uniform treatment” regulation:

Under the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Act (19 U.S.C. §§ 81 et seq.), FTZ grantees often have a regional monopoly on companies’ access to the FTZ program. In that context, the FTZ Act requires that each zone be operated as a “public utility” and provide “uniform treatment” to companies that use – or seek to use – the zone. The FTZ Board’s regulations further define these requirements (15 CFR §§ 400.42-43).

One provision of the FTZ Board’s uniform treatment regulation provides that a party that represents or offers/provides zone-related products/services to users of a zone may not perform any of three “key functions” as a contractor to that zone’s grantee, unless the FTZ Board has approved an applicable waiver. In considering a waiver request, the FTZ Board takes into account the specific circumstances presented, including:

  • The involvement or interest of the grantee’s potential contractor in undertaking key function(s) for the grantee.
  • The involvement or interest of the grantee’s potential contractor in representing or offering/providing zone-related products/services to users of the zone.
  • Whether risk(s) can be mitigated adequately through conditions or limitations on an approved waiver.

The FTZ Board has approved several waivers, subject to certain conditions/limitations. The summaries below provide basic information regarding these approvals, although, as indicated above, all waiver decisions necessarily depend on the specific circumstances presented (including the case-specific involvement/interest of the grantee’s potential contractor in the activities outlined above):

  • Four waivers for grantees’ contractors to undertake “[a]pproving, or being a party to, a zone participant's agreement with the grantee (or person acting on behalf of the grantee) pertaining to FTZ authority or activity (including activation by CBP)” (15 CFR 400.43(d)(1)(ii)).

    Conditions/limitations included in the waiver approvals:
    1) The contractor was limited to continuing to provide zone-related products/services or representation to existing customers (with the exception of the contractor’s FTZ inventory-management software and software-support services, which it could offer/provide to both existing and new customers);
    2) An initial five-year effective period for the waiver, with the possibility of renewal upon request; and,
    3) Monitoring by the FTZ Board staff of participants in the zones in question.

  • A waiver for a grantee’s contractor to undertake “action on behalf of a grantee, or making recommendations to a grantee, regarding the disposition of proposals or requests by zone participants pertaining to FTZ authority or activity (including activation by CBP)” (15 CFR 400.43(d)(1)(i)).

    Conditions/limitations included in the waiver approval:
    1) The contractor was limited to continuing to provide zone-related products/services or representation to one existing customer identified in its waiver request;
    2) An initial five-year effective period for the waiver, with the possibility of renewal upon request; and,
    3) Monitoring by the FTZ Board staff of participants in the zone in question.

More detailed information, including the specific waiver requests and decisions, can be found on the “Documents Relating to Public Utility and Uniform Treatment Compliance” page on the FTZ Board’s website.