Foreign Trade Zones Board Law and Legal Definition

The Foreign Trade Zones Board (“Board”) is a board created by the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934 to review and approve applications to establish, operate, and maintain foreign-trade zones. The Board has the authority to approve any zone or subzone which in its opinion is necessary to serve adequately the public interest. Additionally it regulates the administration of foreign-trade zones and the rates charged by zone grantees. It also makes rules and regulations relating to the foreign-trade zones.

CBP must approve activation of the zone before any merchandise is admitted under the Foreign-Trade Zones Act.

The following is an example of a federal regulation detailing the authority of the Board:

15 CFR 400.11. Authority of the board.

(a) In general. In accordance with the Act and procedures of this part, the Board has authority to:

(1) Prescribe rules and regulations concerning zones;

(2) Issue grants of authority for zones and subzones, and approve modifications to the original zone project;

(3) Approve manufacturing and processing activity in zones and subzones as described in subpart D of this part;

(4) Make determinations on matters requiring Board decisions under this part;

(5) Decide appeals in regard to certain decisions of the Commerce Department's Assistant Secretary for Import Administration or the Executive Secretary;

(6) Inspect the premises, operations and accounts of zone grantees and operators;

(7) Require zone grantees to report on zone operations;

(8) Report annually to the Congress on zone operations;

(9) Restrict or prohibit zone operations;

(10) Impose fines for violations of the Act and this part;

(11) Revoke grants of authority for cause; and

(12) Determine, as appropriate, whether zone activity is or would be in the public interest or detrimental to the public interest.

(b) Authority of the Chairman of the Board. The Chairman of the Board (Secretary of the Department of Commerce) has the authority to:

(1) Appoint the Executive Secretary of the Board;

(2) Call meetings of the Board, with reasonable notice given to each member; and

(3) Submit to the Congress the Board's annual report as prepared by the Executive Secretary.

(c) Alternates. Each member of the Board will designate an alternate with authority to act in an official capacity for that member.

(d) Determinations of the Board. (1) The determination of the Board will be based on the unanimous vote of the members (or alternate members) of the Board.

(2) All votes will be recorded.

(3) The Board will issue its determination in proceedings under the regulations in the form of a Board order.