Lauderdale Marine Center Becomes USA’s First Duty-Free Zone: The new Lauderdale Marine Center, part of a new foreign-trade zone (FTZ), is the first U.S.-specific zone, and perhaps the first in the world to allow foreign-flagged megayachts in without paying duty up front or requiring American buyers to pay import duty.
This FTZ, known in other countries as a free-trade zone, is located next to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ports of entry. These zones allow importing of goods without paying import duties. Companies within an FTZ can defer, reduce or eliminate duties altogether.
For more than a year, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MISF) has worked with CBP to create a yachting-specific FTZ. In December, it received approval for a 16-site subzone within an existing zone. The 65-acre facility received final approval on June 7.
Accommodating megayachts up to 200 feet (61 meters), the facility will also benefit owners. Sales of foreign-built and foreign-flagged yachts are expected to see big boosts, although some restrictions are still in place. Yachts offered for charter and come and go from the zone without paying duty.
Some FTZ benefits are retroactive. Owners who have brought a new foreign-built megayacht into U.S. waters within the past three years can apply for a refund on duties if they use the FTZ.
Lauderdale Marine Zone anticipates other south Florida companies inside and outside the FTZ will see a rise in business and may even expand dockage if demand arises.
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