The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 16, 2012

Foreign trade zone considered for airport area

JOHNSTOWN — A foreign trade zone around Johnstown’s airport could allow Argentine vineyards to save money by sending barrels of wine here for bottling and distribution by local companies, Cambria County President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder said.

Lengenfelder has spearheaded an initiative with local business and government leaders to create a foreign trade zone with other tax incentives as an economic development tool for the region.

An Air Force Academy graduate and a retired Air Force colonel, Lengenfelder said he is using his contacts established as U.S. air attaché to Argentina to promote the concept and encourage employment here.

“I have been working on the foreign trade zone for a year and a half,” Lengenfelder said Tuesday at Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Authority’s regular meeting.

Dubbed “Operation Wagon Wheel,” the foreign trade zone would provide a hub for additional industries, he said.

The idea would be to establish an area around the airport as the primary foreign trade zone under federal laws that provide special customs procedures to U.S. plants engaged in international trade-related activities. International companies only pay tariffs on the work done abroad, Lengenfelder explained.

In the case of the Argentine vineyards, the companies would pay U.S. tariffs only on the raw wine. Bottling, corking and labeling at local manufactures would be duty free.

Glades Pike Winery and its subsidiary, Glades Pike Bottling, are ready for the opportunity, General Manager Liz Diesel said.

Lengenfelder will lead a local delegation on a trip to Argentina next month to meet with vineyard owners and reach out to other industries interested in expanding to the U.S. market.

A trip to New York in December will provide contacts through various foreign consulates that host holiday events.

Lengenfelder said he called Tuesday’s press conference to head off criticism of his travels.

“Just because you build it, they really don’t come,” Lengenfelder said. “You have to have the international connection. If you want a foreign trade zone to come into your area, you have to do these things.”

He will travel at his own expense, he added.

But the foreign trade zone won’t come cheap. Lengenfelder estimates the local group will have to come up with about $200,000 during the next couple of years to meet all federal requirements. About a dozen agencies are involved in the process, including Homeland Security, the FBI, the Commerce Department and Customs and Border Protection.

While the primary foreign trade zone would surround the airport, it can support special-purpose zones available to employers in other communities and neighboring counties. Participating businesses would have to meet requirements and pay a federal fee.

To make the primary zone even more attractive, Lengenfelder wants to create an associated Keystone Opportunity Zone where local property taxes are not collected for the first few years of operation.

He also is looking into the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5.”  The program provides work visas for foreign investors who start new businesses or buy existing ones and employ local workers.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • foust_25 Teen shot in Oakhurst

    A 16-year-old New Jersey boy was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Thursday after being shot three times in the Oakhurst section of Johnstown.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Audit: City overspent by $700G in 2013

    Legacy costs contributed significantly to the city of Johnstown coming up $689,000 short in its core services funding during 2013.

    July 24, 2014

  • Kuzma, jonathan Guilty plea in hammer death

    The Johnstown man who authorities said killed his father with a hammer last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal homicide, authorities said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • quecreek rescue Events to mark anniversary of Quecreek rescue

    When word spread that nine Quecreek miners were trapped underground in July 2002, Bill Arnold’s dairy farm quickly became the rescue effort’s ground zero.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huger, Stephen Accused Hornerstown shooter will stand trial

    A Johnstown man will stand trial in connection with a July 12 shooting in the Hornerstown section of the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 24, 2014

  • Board names Zahorchak’s successor

    The Greater Johnstown school board at a special meeting Thursday named a superintendent to replace the retiring superintendent, rehired its last business manager and approved other administrative appointments.

    July 24, 2014

  • Pasquerilla, Mark Pasquerilla recognized as arts patron

    First lady Susan Corbett announced Thursday from the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pa., that Mark Pasquerilla of Johnstown has earned the Patron Award from the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ebensburg gets ready to party

    Party down with a shutdown.
    Downtown Shutdown, a street party featuring music and food, will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday in downtown Ebensburg.

    July 24, 2014

  • ROTARY Local Rotary Club earns recognition

    The Rotary Club of Johnstown was named Outstanding Large Club of the Year in District 7330, which serves 42 Rotary Clubs in seven counties in southwest Pennsylvania, at the Rotary District 7330 and District 7300 Joint Conference that was held June 26 through 29 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads