The state of Georgia enacted legislation in 1965 permitting foreign-trade zones (OCGA §§ 52-10-1 to 52-10-4), and in 1976, a group of civic-minded government and business leaders including representatives from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Ports Authority, Atlanta Regional Commission, Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism (now the Georgia Department of Economic Development), and Georgia Industrial Developers Association (now the Georgia Economic Developers Association), joined forces to create Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone, Inc. (GFTZ) as a non-profit, quasi-governmental corporation for the express purposes of becoming the zone grantee of the Atlanta Port of Entry and to foster economic growth for the entire State of Georgia. GFTZ become the Zone Grantee of Foreign Trade Zone #26 in January 1977.
In 2013, GFTZ became an official affiliate of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. As the driving force behind the 1976 effort to establish Georgia’s first FTZ project, the Georgia Chamber leadership was keenly aware of the role that international trade would play in the successful development of Georgia and the growth of business. Today, the two organizations share the common goal of promoting a healthy environment for Georgia businesses.
GFTZ was formed to promote, support and stimulate economic growth for the state of Georgia. It qualified as a 501(c)(6) tax-exempt corporation, and its original Board of Directors consisted of members located throughout the state. Directors continue to this day to represent various public-interest constituencies, and serve without compensation. In addition to representation from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the GFTZ Board includes designated directors from:
- The Georgia Ports Authority
- The Georgia Department of Economic Development
- The Georgia Economic Developers Association
- The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
The Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone (GFTZ) supports the creation & retention of jobs in Georgia by promoting and facilitating the use of the Foreign-Trade Zone program. GFTZ assists existing businesses in Georgia and new businesses considering locating to Georgia in obtaining FTZ benefits. GFTZ provides ongoing support to FTZ operators to lower operating costs by deferring, reducing, and eliminating the payment of U.S. Customs duties on imported goods. GFTZ enhances economic opportunity within local communities and contributes to the overall economic development of the state.