In what will be the first in a series of articles designed to “spread the word” about what the Chamber is working on to help build key business sectors, this week we are focusing on one project: enhancing Sarnia-Lambton’s international gateway and trade sector.

The Chamber aims to increase trade and develop the transportation, distribution and warehousing sectors by designating Sarnia-Lambton as a “Foreign Trade Zone Point,” much like in other border communities such as Windsor-Essex and Niagara. The FTZ status would effectively result in a one-window service helping businesses access tariff and tax exemptions on goods that are imported, stored, manufactured, assembled and then exported again.

“Such materials and goods can generally be stored, processed or assembled in the FTZ for re-export (in which case taxes and duties generally would not apply) or for entry into the domestic market (in which case taxes and duties would be deferred until the time of entry),” according to the Finance Department’s website.

A Trade Corridor Task Force was formed to help the Chamber apply for the FTZ designation and look at other ways to develop these sectors. Other initiatives they are working on include designing educational and training programs and taking steps to attract a distribution centre. Ultimately, the Chamber would like to see the development of a multi-modal port in Sarnia-Lambton to facilitate global trade.

Sarnia-Lambton is already a significant gateway to trade due to its location on NAFTA Superhighway and being the second busiest border crossing for commercial traffic in North America.

Look for more details in future issues of the newsletter on how the Chamber is working to improve the local business climate.