1934:

Congress passes the U.S. Foreign-Trade Act of 1934 to help “expedite and encourage foreign commerce.”

1936:

FTZ 1 in New York City becomes the first U.S. foreign-trade zone.

1950:

Congress amends the FTZ Act to permit manufacturing in zones.

1952:

The FTZ Board issues new regulations, which allow FTZ sites to be designated at a company’s facility.

1953:

The first “subzone” is established on a temporary basis in San Francisco (FTZ 3) for the exhibition of foreign merchandise.

1972:

The National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ) is established.

1977:

General Motors becomes the first auto assembly plant to receive FTZ status.

1980:

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) issues a formal ruling that FTZ users would pay duty on the value of the foreign non-duty-paid content only. 

1984:

Zone merchandise is exempted from state and local ad valorem inventory taxes.

1986:

CBP introduces audit-inspection systems for FTZs.

1987:

FTZs are exempted from annual and activation fees.

1988:

The FTZ Act is amended to allow petroleum production in zones.

1996:

The FTZ Act is amended to allow duty deferral for production equipment installed in a zone.

2000:

The Trade and Development Act extend the use of Weekly Entry procedures for all manufacturing and distribution in Foreign-Trade Zones.

2009:

The FTZ Board allows zones to reorganize under the Alternative Site Framework, opening the doors to more participation of small and medium-sized companies in the FTZ program.

2012:

FTZ Board publishes revised 15 CFR Part 400 regulations significantly streamlining the regulation of the program.

February 2014:

President Obama signs the executive order on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses. By 2016, the Automated Commercial Environment will become the Single Window for trade processing.

December 2015:

NAFTZ moves into the National Press Building, located near key agencies.

February 24, 2016:

President Obama signs the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 into law.