County, cities to expand Weslaco Foreign Trade Zone

WESLACO — Hidalgo County and three other cities are coming together to help expand the Weslaco Foreign Trade Zone.

County commissioners approved the zone’s formation documents at their meeting earlier this week. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the county, Pharr, Edinburg, Donna and Weslaco to expand the latter’s existing zone countywide, according to Weslaco City Manager Mike Perez.

The designation allows foreign and domestic merchandise may be moved into the zone for storage, exhibition, assembly, manufacturing or processing, according to Customs and Border Protection. While in the zone, merchandise is not subject to U.S. duty or excise tax.

“The idea is to have another zone that they can use as another economic development tool,” Michael Leo, Hidalgo County director of economic development, told commissioners Tuesday.

All entities will be represented in the zone’s board of Directors, but Weslaco will have the strongest presence.

“Since we’re using Weslaco’s designation, they will have two seats on the board of directors,” Leo said.

Once the entity is created, Weslaco will be able to petition the federal government to officially transfer its designation to the newly created entity, county officials said in a news release.

“The group will also work closely with state delegates to ensure that this new entity is listed in the business and commerce code for Texas, which is a legal requirement,” the document stated.