Grand Junction Aims For Foreign Trade To Boost A Lagging Economy

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Grand Junction Regional Airport
A new customs office would be built on the roof of the Grand Junction Regional Airport.

Grand Junction is landlocked and has no commercial international flights at its airport. So why would this Western Slope city need a customs office?

The answer is a bit convoluted: Grand Junction doesn't want a customs office. But it needs one to qualify for a Western Slope regional designation as a foreign trade zone. So, the city is capping more than two and a half years of work by officially seeking approval to build a $1 million customs office on the roof of the terminal at the Grand Junction Regional Airport.

If that is approved, the city then will apply for the trade-zone designation that it really does want -- a designation that will lower the duties now charged to businesses that import materials for manufacturing and export finished products. There are currently 25 to 30 such businesses in the area, including a mountain bike component manufacturer, a company that makes giant fish aquariums, and a business that produces ski lifts.

The new executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, Robin Brown, tells Colorado Matters the designation will also help attract new businesses.