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Nashville Area Foreign-Trade Zone

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County is the local grantee for the Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) program. Nashville's Foreign-Trade Zone #78 was established in 1983.

FTZ's are areas designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce considered to be outside the U.S. Customs territory. The purpose is to stimulate and expedite international commerce by exempting goods from tariffs while they are in the zone.

FTZ's assist companies in delaying, reducing or eliminating payment of U.S. Customs duty since no duty is paid on merchandise brought into a FTZ. Merchandise in a FTZ exported outside the U.S. or transferred to another FTZ incurs no customs duty. Merchandise may also be assembled, consolidated, repackaged or otherwise manipulated while in a FTZ to reduce duty payments.

The Metropolitan Government's Foreign-Trade Zone grant also allows companies to designate a facility outside of the general-purpose zone site as a subzone. This designation allows companies to take advantage of FTZ benefits while using their own facilities. Nissan Motor Manufacturing in Smyrna is one such FTZ subzone in the Nashville area.

How A Foreign-Trade Zone May Be Used


  • No bond or duty payment while goods are in the zone
  • Foreign goods may be stored indefinitely
  • If zone goods are exported, no duty is paid


  • Foreign and domestic goods may be mixed together to produce a finished product
  • Duty can be based upon rate of individual parts at a time of entry or the finished product, at your discretion


Foreign merchandise in a zone may be: assembled; cleaned; destroyed; displayed; graded; inspected; labeled; manipulated; packed; relabeled; repacked; repaired; sold (wholesale); sorted; tested.


  • Permanent or temporary exhibition of goods is permitted
  • No duty is due on such goods until entering U.S. Customs territory

Quotas and other regulation

  • Goods in excess of quota may be held in the zone until in compliance
  • Goods not meeting certain other government agency requirements may be held until such goods meet standard

Cost Benefits

  • Delay of duty payment gives cash flow advantage
  • No bond is required on zone goods
  • Insurance costs are reduced to value plus ocean freight
  • Unacceptable goods may be repaired or discarded before assessment of duty
  • Zone merchandise may be used as collateral
  • Duty rates may be frozen at time of entry
  • Zone goods may be exported without duty payment

More Information

For additional information contact Matt Wiltshire at or (615) 862-6021

U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone Board Website