Attend 3rd Annual Meeting – October 6th

Why Attend
Supply chain constraints are impacting our economy, and we see it daily in our homes and businesses. This event will highlight two specific tools to mitigate supply-chain risk, speed-up supply-chain timelines and reduce real costs: Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) and Reshoring. Leave with a strategy to become a more valuable supplier to your customers, and improve your own supply-chain strategy.

4:00 Welcome and introduction from event sponsor
Lisa Waller, Vice President & CHB, BDG International

4:05 Foreign Trade Zone #176 program overview and update
Carrie Zethmayr, FTZ Administrator

4:20 Keynote presentation: Reshoring Opportunities for U.S. Manufacturers and Economic Development Organizations
Harry Moser, Founder, The Reshoring Initiative

5:00 Networking reception with light appetizers and cash bar

Who should attend?
• Manufacturing and distribution professionals that are engaged in international trade
• Economic development professionals that want to learn about how to leverage foreign trade zone (FTZ) and reshoring to attract investment


FTZ #176 Releases 2020 Annual Report

Despite the uncertainty throughout the global economy at the beginning of 2020, the year finished strong across many indicators for industrial and distribution sectors. One of the predominant impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic has been an increase in lead times throughout the supply chain, and reduction of overall supply. Companies are seeing price increases and growing lead times to access product, while demand continues to grow. To mitigate this impact, companies are increasing inventory volumes. The foreign-trade zone can play an important role in deferring the tariff costs of those inventories and help stabilize supply chains.

Read the full report:

FTZ #176 2020 Annual Meeting Debrief

October, 2020

On October 6th, FTZ #176 held its 2nd Annual Meeting to highlight the FTZ as an important tool for economic development.

The event featured a keynote presentation from Bob Hess, a founding member and shareholder of the Site Selector’s Guild and Vice Chairman of Newmark Knight Frank. Bob highlighted the competitive position of the State of Illinois to attraction foreign direct investment, including strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for improvement.

Click here to view the webinar

FTZ #176 Releases 2019 Annual Report

With a record number of activated foreign-trade zone sites, the program has been a “lifeline” to Northern Illinois companies

April 13, 2020 (Rockford, IL) – With a record number of activated foreign-trade zone (FTZ) sites in Northern Illinois, the Greater Rockford Airport Authority and Zethmayr LLC submitted the 2019 annual report on behalf of FTZ #176 to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the national program. While companies that are reliant on international trade consider restructuring their global supply-chains due to tariffs and the COVID-19 pandemic, the foreign-trade zone has become an increasingly important tool allowing companies to control aspects of their tariff payments, providing flexibility and improving cash flow. “The foreign-trade zone has been a lifeline to FTZ operators, allowing them to prepare and plan their cash flow in an ever-changing environment,” described Carrie Zethmayr, administrator of FTZ #176.   

There are many ways the foreign-trade zone impacts a company’s bottom line. Some companies use the foreign-trade zone to reduce tariffs through a special authorization which allows them to reclassify their domestic sales as the final product sold, rather than the imported components. In some cases, this allows for a significant reduction of tariff payment. Other FTZ operators benefit by deferring their tariff payments. In an era of 25% increases on tariffs on imports from China, the cash flow benefits can be significant.

Current FTZ operators in the Foreign-Trade Zone #176 service area include:

  • Bergstrom, Inc. – Rockford, IL (activated in 2020)
  • Brake Parts, Inc. – McHenry, IL
  • Cellusuede Products, Inc. – Rockford, IL
  • Chicago Importing Company – Huntley, IL
  • Energizer Holdings, Inc. – Dixon, IL
  • Leading Americas, Inc. – Hampshire, IL (activated in 2020)
  • Packaging Coordinators, Inc. – Rockford, IL
  • UniCarriers Americas Corporation – Marengo, IL

In addition to strong FTZ activity, exports from the Rockford MSA have grown significantly compared to the national and Illinois averages. According to data available from the International Trade Administration, total exports from the Rockford MSA grew 94% between 2008 – 2018 (most recent published), while nationally exports grew 29% and Illinois exports grew 22%. In the same time period, the Rockford MSA advanced from being the MSA with the 108th highest value of exports to becoming the MSA with the 85th highest value of exports. As FTZ #176 recently surpassed its record number of activated FTZ operators in 2020 and global supply chains continue to be impacted by tariffs, we are confident that the foreign-trade zone will continue to be an important “lifeline” to companies in our service area.

Learn more about the foreign-trade zone program in Northern Illinois at, or contact Carrie Zethmayr, FTZ Administrator on behalf of the Greater Rockford Airport Authority at 312-221-1115 or

Carrie Zethmayr
FTZ Administrator
Contractor to Greater Rockford Airport Authority