Jefferson seeks foreign trade zone

May 30, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Commissioners are making a pitch with the state Economic Development Commission to have a federal foreign trade zone established in the Eastern Panhandle.

A foreign trade zone is an area where importers and exporters can store their goods without paying taxes on them until they are actually sold, said County Commissioner James Ruland.

Several areas in the state are competing to have the federal foreign trade zone in their area.

County Commissioner President James Knode said a foreign trade zone would not be needed if the entire country was considered a foreign trade zone.


County Commissioner Edgar R. Ridgeway asked about the benefits of a free trade zone.

Ruland said the county would benefit because the foreign trade zone would draw new businesses and they would provide more jobs for the county.

Ruland said he believes the Eastern Panhandle is a leading contender for the foreign zone.

The regional airport in Martinsburg, W.Va., and the county's proximity to Dulles International Airport and Baltimore's harbor make it a logical spot, Ruland said.

"There's a thought that the Eastern Panhandle should become a foreign trade center for the state," Ruland said.

Foreign trade has been a growing issue in the Eastern Panhandle with the recent start of the International Trade Resource Center and the West Virginia International Trade Development Council, both in Martinsburg.

Jefferson County Commissioners decided to write a letter to the West Virginia Economic Development Authority as a sign of their support for the project.

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