Can Niagara County bring Amazon to WNY?

Posted at 11:23 AM, Sep 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 18:33:50-04

With e-commerce giant Amazon announcing plans to open a second North American headquarters Thursday, cities and states across the continent have already started expressing interest. Understandably so, considering the company plans to create 50,000 high-paying jobs in a $5 billion facility.

Officials in Niagara County believe they have the resources to make a competitive pitch to Amazon and are working to do just that.

The key, according to county legislators, is a Foreign Trade Zone adjacent to the Niagara Falls International Airport. The zone was created in the 1970s, as part of an effort to designate specific areas exempting commercial businesses from Custom duties and ad valorem taxes on their products.

“Our FTZ can take advantage of precisely the savings in time and tariffs needed to succeed at international trade,” said Economic Development Committee Chairwoman Kathryn Lance, (R) Wheatfield.

Lance said this FTZ is all the more important with the future of NAFTA and other trade agreements unclear under the Trump Administration.

“Niagara County is unique in that it offers security for low-cost entry into foreign markets and a location in the Niagara-Buffalo Metro Region with its 1.1 million people,” she explained.

The Niagara County Legislature directed the county's Center for Economic Development staff to prepare a “serious proposal that leverages Niagara County’s very unique trade benefits” for Amazon to locate its second headquarters in the area.

County Legislators are currently exploring what incentives the county can provide for the proposal to locate Amazon in the FTZ and are also reaching out to state leaders for their support.