A Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) is an area within the United States which is designated by the federal government as outside of U.S. Customs territory. FTZs encourage investment in the U.S. and the creation of American jobs by allowing U.S. businesses to operate with equivalent customs treatment to business conducted off-shore. Business using FTZs can reduce customs duties and fees, and achieve logistics benefits for the import and export of goods. FTZs can be an effective part of a community economic development program.

The Austin region is served by FTZ 183 which was established in the 1990s to capitalize on the growth of the high tech industry and to provide local businesses with a tool to help them compete in the global economy. The Foreign Trade Zone of Central Texas, Inc., is the grantee of FTZ 183 and is run by a board of directors appointed by the cities and chambers in the Austin metropolitan area. The Austin Chamber of Commerce is the administrator for FTZ 183.

In July 2012, the Foreign Trade Zone of Central Texas received approval from the federal government to operate under new streamlined procedures designed to make U.S. business more competitive. Under the new approval, all of the five-county metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has been preapproved by the federal government as eligible FTZ property. With the concurrence of local officials, the federal government will provide any eligible business in the Austin MSA FTZ designation on an expedited and simplified basis. A process that has taken historically over a year and been very expensive may now take less than 45 days with modest expense.


  • Foreign Trade Zone of Central Texas Overview
  • Watch the April 2021 webinar on accessing the FTZ
  • FTZ 183 Policies, Procedures, Definitions & Zone Schedule
  • FTZ 183 Summary
  • Foreign Trade Zone Handbook, Ernst & Young
  • Freeport Exemptions Map


Ben Ramirez
Foreign Trade Zone of Central Texas
email: ben.ramirez@ftzcentraltexas.com
Phone: 512.595.0741