3 Business Benefits of Vancouver Island Becoming a Foreign Trade Zone

If the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) is successful with its application to the Government of Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan, the Island may soon join nine Foreign Trade Zones across the country receiving funding and assistance to develop marketing initiatives to attract foreign direct investment.

VIEA president George Hanson says the application, submitted in June 2017, is awaiting federal Ministry of Finance approval.

“We’ve challenged the model they’re accustomed to,” says Hanson. “… the other applications they’ve approved were all single municipalities. We’ve taken a regional approach, suggesting Island communities are so interconnected with their transportation infrastructure and industry that it makes more sense for it to be a regional designation …”

Hanson adds that while the Island is well known globally and regarded as a great place to visit and retire, people don’t think of it particularly as a place for business investment.

“A major inhibitor for the export of goods off Vancouver Island,” says Hanson, “is essentially the lack of volume of products. The [FTZ] designation is primarily to attract investment and, in so doing, increase the volume of export products being produced on Vancouver Island for global markets.”

3 Business Benefits of Vancouver Island Becoming a Foreign Trade Zone

1. Improved Marketing Support

The FTZ designation would put Island businesses on the radar at the municipal, provincial and federal government levels for funding to support regional branding initiatives, says William Collins of CollinsWorks Ventures who moderated the FTZ panel at the recent VIEA summit.

2. Reduced Overhead

Having a non-governmental support program and a dedicated local FTZ office will help educate importers/exporters and should save time in getting products to market.

3. Improved Cash Flow

While the Duty Deferral, Export Distribution Centre and Exporters of Processing Services programs are available to any business in Canada, an FTZ designation will make these programs easier to access.

 This article is from the February/March 2018 issue