Sarnia-Lambton given Foreign Trade Zone status

An aerial view of the Blue Water Bridge taken during a 403 Honour Flight on Remembrance Day. Nov. 11, 2020 (BlackburnNews.com photo by Dave Dentinger)

Sarnia-Lambton has been designated an official Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ).

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Marie-France Lalonde made the announcement Tuesday, saying Sarnia-Lambton is well positioned to recover from the pandemic.

“It’s unique location on the Ontario-Michigan border has made way to a transportation network made up of road, rail and sea,” said Lalonde. “The Blue Water Bridge is the second busiest border crossing for commercial traffic between Canada and the United States, making this an ideal spot for trade.”

The FTZ designation allows the municipality to market itself as a hub for international trade.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said it opens the doors to more opportunities for the region.

“We’re trying to find the future of our airport, Chris Hadfield Airport, and this will be a big step forward to looking for some opportunities there that could make it the destination point for manufacturers and other industries,” said Bradley. “I think the spirit is very strong that this a huge step forward for us in innovation and maximizing our ability on the industrial/commercial side to do much greater things.”

Ontario is home to five of Canada’s 16 FTZ points–a single point of access to resources and information relating to programs that relieve duties, tariffs and taxes for businesses engaged in importing and exporting.

Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu, the shadow minister for FedDev Ontario, said she’s excited about the designation.

“This program is similar to the ongoing, successful initiative in Niagara. It will hugely benefit our local economy and create job opportunities, which is exactly what we need, coming out of the devastation of the pandemic,” Gladu said in a statement. “I am grateful to FedDev and the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce for their efforts on this program, especially for our community. I will do everything in my power to assist with the program and bring it to life for Sarnia-Lambton.”

Gladu said the designation will help the region in its pandemic recovery and build a solid economic foundation for the future.