Southeast Iowa businesses could soon have access to a significant federal incentive.
The Southeast Iowa Regional Economic and Port Authority (SIREPA) has been trying to secure a foreign trade zone (FTZ) for years.
Those efforts have stalled for various reasons, though, including the distance from the next closest FTZ.
SIREPA Chairman Bob Winkler said the tide is now turning.
“That process has been simplified tremendously,” said Winkler, “so that right now, if you are a company that needs FTZ status, the process takes about 30 days from start to finish. Before, it took 8-9 months.”
Winkler says the reason for that is the fact that SIREPA is no longer trying to secure its own FTZ.
Instead, the organization is working with the Quad Cities FTZ, which is seeking the authority to expand into other parts of the state.
Winkler says SIREPA would be available to facilitate talks between the Quad Cities organization and potential southeast Iowa businesses.
He has even joined the oversight board for the Quad Cities FTZ.
Businesses operating within an FTZ qualify for incentives including reduced import and export fees.