If you want to know why the Foreign-Trade Zones program is important to the U.S. economy and U.S. workers, treat yourself to a Tootsie Roll. The FTZ program helps deliver that classic American sweet to the store, and ensures that it is U.S. workers who produce it.
I was reminded of this fact this morning as I was reading through a report from Tootsie Roll Industries Inc., whose subsidiary The Sweets Mix Company, Inc. operates out of FTZ 22 in Lake Calumet Harbor, Ill. In its FTZ operations, Sweets Mix produces a blended syrup of foreign sugar and domestically produced corn syrup and other ingredients for use by TRI in producing its candy for final sale.
The FTZ program allows TRI to mitigate the effects of the U.S. sugar quota system, which restricts imported sugar and thus forces domestic consumers of sugar to pay above-market prices. As TRI explains in its report:
Multiply this experience across thousands of U.S. companies and you begin to understand the beneficial effects of the FTZ program on U.S. trade, manufacturing, and employment.
By the way, the NAFTZ staff has been copying and combing through the FY 2010 reports that the zone grantees submitted to the FTZ Board last year. The board used the reports to produce its own Annual Report to Congress, released earlier this year. We are going through the individual reports to produce our own, more detailed annual state-by-state study that we plan to release later this spring.