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Foreign Trade Zone Would Benefit Albemarle County

A new partnership between Culpeper and Albemarle counties aims to lower costs for some local businesses and keep jobs in the area.

Culpeper County is one of five foreign trade zones in Virginia, set up to help local companies do business worldwide, and they're looking for Albemarle County to be part of that as a designated service area.

Culpeper County is in the process of amending its management plan with the Federal Trade Zone Board under what is known as an alternative site framework plan to include Albemarle County.

An international trade manager with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership said including Albemarle County in the zone would be a benefit.

"It will bring jobs, keep jobs in Albemarle County, as well as the money there. And, as we know, that's what we're all about," said Roger Porter with VEDP.

A foreign trade zone allows for reduced or delayed duty payments on foreign merchandise. Locally, that will mean increased profitability for companies importing or exporting in Albemarle County.

But businesses wouldn't be the only ones to benefit.

"If a company can avoid or reduce those duties, it ends up reducing their cost and ends up reducing the consumer's cost," said Culpeper County economic development director Carl Sachs.

An international trade briefing at the Albemarle County office building Wednesday outlined state resources for businesses in the county involved with international trade.

"It's critical that businesses know that they can reach out to other countries to increase the revenue in Albemarle County," said Porter.

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