Local political leaders joined more than 100 people at a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for the first foreign trade zone in the San Gabriel Valley, officials said.
Approved by the federal government, the zone on Valley Boulevard will include a warehouse and a product showcase area. It will focus on developing trade between Asian Pacific countries and the San Gabriel Valley, which has a large Asian immigrant population.
“This is going to be a great benefit to businesses in the San Gabriel Valley,” said David Harlow, director of international trade and commerce for the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership.
Importers and manufacturers can bring products into the zone without paying duty or bringing them into compliance with American laws--a big advantage for foreign companies that want to exhibit their goods and test the market before spending the money, Harlow said.
He said most foreign trade zones are near harbors and international airports, but that the San Gabriel Valley Foreign Trade Zone is strategically situated near the railroads heading across the country from the Alameda Corridor and downtown Los Angeles. He added that thousands of importers work in the area, making El Monte a viable location for the zone.