In what is being hailed as a major win for Ft. Lauderdale area yacht brokers, the Lauderdale Marine Center (LMC) has been officially designated the first Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) in US Waters.
Prior to the establishment of this first of its kind marine FTZ, the only option for any broker who wished to showcase and sell a foreign flagged luxury motor yacht in the US was to exhibit her at a boat show. Even when exhibited at a boat show, the sale of a new or used foreign-flagged yacht, had to be completed in international waters. In addition, foreign-made new builds typically had to pay 1.5 per cent on the estimated value of the vessel to import it into the US for sale. The establishment of the FTZ changes all of that.
What Does Creating a Marine FTZ Mean for Area Yacht Brokers?
In a nutshell, designating LMC as a Foreign Trade Zone is a boon to area yacht brokers. We no longer have to wait for the major trade shows to showcase and sell foreign flagged vessels to US citizens. Speaking to the press, George Whitehouse, director of business development for LMC, said, “We really wanted to aid the brokerage community in the area, who have been desperate to showcase the superyachts on their books to US clients. A huge portion of the superyacht brokerage community is here in Fort Lauderdale and they couldn’t operate effectively.”
Doug West, president and CEO of LMC, added that the idea of designating LMC as an FTZ started almost a year ago, and it was brought to fruition largely with the cooperation of the Maritime Industries Association of South Florida, as well as with the help of US Customs and Border control.
West went on to say that 13 possible locations along the New River have been greenlit for use as FTZs, however, “so far, we are the only facility to have submitted its application and become activated.”
At 26 North Yachts, we applauded the decision, and are very excited to have this ability to showcase and sell internationally flagged luxury motoryachts and superyachts in our own backyard all year long.
How to Use the Marine Foreign Trade Zone
Yachts that wish to take advantage of the FTZ, pay a flat rate to register with the Lauderdale Marine Center, and then must pay an additional fee each time they leave and reenter the facility. These fees pale in comparison to the costs of bringing a foreign flagged superyacht into the US to be shown at one of our major boat shows, such as FLIBS, or Yachts Miami Beach.
Once registered, the yacht can enter and exit LMC to be shown for sale, for personal use, or for charter, for a period of up to 120 days. While not docked within the Marine Center, any registered yacht is still considered operating within the FTZ, as long as she is in US waters. However, any sales transaction must be completed within the FTZ itself.
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