China wholesale Sourcing

Free trade zone

A free trade zone (FTZ) or export processing zone is one or more areas of a country where tariffs and quotas are eliminated and bureaucratic requirements are lowered in order to attract companies by raising the incentives for doing business there.

Most FTZs are located in developing countries. They are special zones where (some) normal trade barriers such as import or export tariffs do not apply, bureaucracy is typically minimized by outsourcing it to the FTZ operator and corporations setting up in the zone may be given tax breaks as an additional incentive. Usually, these zones are set up in underdeveloped parts of the host country, the rationale being that the zones will attract employers and thus reduce poverty and unemployment and stimulate the area's economy. These zones are often used by multinational corporations to set up factories to produce goods (such as clothing or shoes).

The creation of special free-trade zones is criticized as giving business which set up operations under influence of already corrupt governments, and as giving foreign corporations more economic liberty than is given ordinary citizens, who face large and sometimes insurmountable "regulatory" hurdles in most third-world nations. Because the multinational corporation is able to choose between many underdeveloped or depressed countries in setting up an overseas factory, and most of these countries do not have limited governments, bidding wars of sorts erupt between their governments. Often the government pays part of the initial cost of factory setup, loosens environmental protections and rules regarding negligence and the treatment of workers, and promises not to ask payment of taxes for the next few years. When the taxation-free years are over the corporation which set up the factory without fully assuming its costs is often able to set up operations elsewhere for less expense than the taxes to be paid, giving it leverage to take the host government to the bargaining table with more demands in order for it to continue operations in the country. The widespread use of free trade zones by companies such as Nike has received criticism from numerous writers such as Naomi Klein in her No logo book.