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Maine-Based Manufacturer Stays Globally Competitive via Foreign Trade Zone #186

October 31, 2018

Photo by Portland Press Herald staff photographer Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Waterville, Maine, October 31stOne of Maine’s largest textile manufacturers, Flemish Masters Weavers of Sanford, has been granted Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) status to assist in the continuing expansion of their business, and to add jobs as they continue to manufacture woven area rugs in Maine.

The federal FTZ program designation has been approved for Flemish Masters Weavers within FTZ No. 186, which encompasses a majority of Maine, including southern, central, and coastal Maine and is managed by Central Maine Growth Council and the City of Waterville.

“FTZ designation allows the user to secure several benefits and cost reductions associated with streamlined movement of goods in and out of the zone, including the ability to defer, reduce, and/or eliminate U.S. Customs duties on goods and manufacturing raw materials imported into the United States,” according to Wayne Coleman, Principal of C3 Associates, who initially led the effort to seek FTZ Zone status for Flemish Master Weavers in concert with Garvan D. Donegan  of the Central Maine Growth Council.

Flemish Master Weavers (FMW), along with their parent company NATCO, is a state-of-the-art rug manufacturing facility in Sanford, Maine. With over 300,000 square feet, 10+ high-speed looms, and fully automated packaging and finishing, FMW is one of the largest employers in southern Maine. The company is continuing to grow and has planned an additional 80,000 square foot expansion.

“Today, we are extraordinarily pleased to announce Flemish Master Weavers’ inclusion into Foreign-Trade Zone 186, which will result in significant savings and job growth, while allowing Flemish Master Weavers to remain competitive with overseas manufacturers and foreign alternatives,” said Director of Planning & Economic Development of Central Maine Growth Council and Zone Manager Garvan D. Donegan. “The foreign-trade zone environment stimulates economic growth and development and improves the bottom line for companies who operate in a zone. It is a valuable asset that can enhance a business’s competitive position in the 21st century’s global economy and looks to serve as a boon for international trade and commerce in the State of Maine.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Foreign-Trade Zone Board provided the approval, which was the result of a multiyear effort that included Maine’s Senators and Representatives, the Governor, the City of Waterville, and the Central Maine Growth Council.

About U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone 186 & Central Maine Growth Council

The U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) program is an economic development tool to (i.) decrease overall costs, (ii.) increase supply-chain pace, and (iii.) provide the FTZ user with a more competitive cost structure. FTZ 186 covers nine counties in Maine, and is administered by Central Maine Growth Council (CMGC) and the City of Waterville.

CMGC is the leading regional public/private catalyst and resource for economic development in central Maine. The growth council is dedicated to fostering a robust regional economy through successful collaborative partnerships among businesses, governments, academic institutions, health care facilities, arts and cultural agencies, and residents throughout the State of Maine. The benefit is a highly desirable place in which to enjoy an outstanding work-life balance.


Last modified: October 31, 2018

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