I will connect public private partnerships and these Wall Street development corporations that are working to install International Economic Zones to Trans Pacific Trade Pact. I want to remind people as your pols are telling you this is all about trade----it is not. It is all about ending national sovereignty-----taking away a nation's laws and Constitutions and replacing them with laws and courts created by a global corporate tribunal. All nations signing TPP will lose this national sovereignty ---ESPECIALLY THE US. We, after all have the most to lose! Goodbye Magna Carta giving citizens access to Rule of Law and Constitutional protections----only corporations and the rich have access to Rule of Law. Goodbye US Constitution and Bill of Rights----any law that limits global corporate profits will be ignored.
So, Wall Street's Baltimore Development pushes all these policies creating in Baltimore the structures for these international economic zones and oversight by this global corporate tribunal.
This video about TPP is great but I want to add to this discussion------TPP is International Economic Zone is ending national sovereignty and our US Constitution and all of these are what is behind the breakdown in our public justice----all of this corporate fraud and government corruption. If you are mad they are stealing your pensions, SS, Medicare Trusts you are mad for the same reasons as the injustice in underserved communities. Clinton/Obama neo-liberals are the same as Bush neo-cons and they are working for this global corporate tribunal against the interests of the American people---no matter what race, creed, and class.
Trans Pacific Partnership & Obama Disillusionment
This episode of Critical Insight we were joined by activist and organizer, Ajamu Baraka, for a robust discussion regarding the destructive details of the Tra...
This is what makes me mad at US international labor leaders all coming out for Hillary as if her simply saying she's against TPP means anything. Clinton and Obama are raging neo-liberals working for the same thing and neither are Democrats. You can tell which media outlet is really free and fair if it ties TPP to International Economic Zone policies that in the US are simply called 'economic zones'. It's great to out how bad it is for labor and justice but as this article does with Obama speaking out from NIKE-----global sweat shop extraordinaire----bring this back to US cities where global corporations like UnderArmour are buying huge parcels of real estate for their global corporate campus and FOXCONN factories.
OH, WELL UNDERARMOUR HAS A PLEDGE TO BE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE -----REALLY?????? WE ALREADY KNOW THEY DON'T PAY ATTENTION TO THAT PLEDGE.
'To labor, Obama’s choice of Nike headquarters for a major address on trade was dismaying. Nike is often seen as a poster child for all that’s wrong on trade. Not only was Nike a leader in sending production overseas – making more than 90% of its footwear in Asia'
Sadly all academic writing against these neo-liberal practices come from outside the US because-----all of our universities are corporatized and will not allow free academic discussion on these issues. This does a great job in assessing what bringing International Economic Zones into a country looks like. India was taken by these policies after China and this Indian academic was trying to warn citizens about what this would bring.
In Maryland any talk of anti-neo-liberal policies is immediately silenced and you get a stern look from the university's executives. O'Malley appoints these University of Maryland executives. This statement below looks just like Enterprise Zone policy in the US and YES-----it will impact negatively real development both community and economic----AS IN BALTIMORE.
'Neo-liberal trade and economic policies have already resulted in the spread of an exploitative work culture in India and other developing countries, especially with regard to unorganised labour. And now, apart from huge revenue losses, large-scale displacement of farmers and regional development disparities, the proliferation of SEZs will certainly worsen the plight of workers. In fact, promoting these export enclaves, where domestic trade, tariff and labour laws are not applicable, as the one and only way to development is likely to negatively impact the real development that the country needs'.
SEZs: Economic or exploitation zones?
By M Suchitra
Trade liberalisation and the proliferation of Special Economic Zones are expected to provide livelihood opportunities for thousands. This employment is expected to balance the huge revenue losses, large-scale displacement of farmers and regional development disparities resulting from SEZs. But what are the working conditions that are actually being created in these zones?
The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) policy of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre has once again hit the headlines. In February 2006, when the SEZ Act came into effect, much was made of it in the regional and national media. Newspapers and television news channels quoted Commerce Minister Kamal Nath as saying: “The SEZ Act and Rules will provide comfort to and instil confidence in prospective investors.” The mood was clearly upbeat.
But now things have suddenly changed. Thousands of villagers and farmers in states like Maharashtra, Haryana, West Bengal and Orissa are agitating against large-scale land acquisitions by big corporations like Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) -- with help from the government -- that wish to develop SEZs. The finance and commerce ministers spoke to the media, contradicting each other. UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi cautioned the chief ministers of Congress-ruled states to be careful while acquiring land. The Reserve Bank of India expressed its reservations over tax concessions being granted to SEZs. Even the International Monetary Fund (the IMF, that ardent advocate of economic liberalisation and globalisation) has warned against the present trend of promoting SEZs in India. In other words, an utterly chaotic situation now prevails.
Yet, the commerce ministry and the Board of Approvals (BoA) for SEZs are going ahead with the process of clearing SEZ proposals. By early-October, the BoA had given “formal approval” to 181 SEZ projects and “in-principle approval” to another 128. The finance ministry’s argument that the promotion of SEZs in the present manner would cause revenue losses amounting to Rs 160,000 crore by 2010 was countered by the commerce ministry’s assertion that these projections of loss were based on “paper calculations”. In addition to world-class infrastructure, it claims, SEZs will bring in investments of up to Rs 100,000 crore and create 5 lakh jobs by the end of 2007.
It is indeed true that these “foreign territories”, which enjoy huge tax concessions and financial incentives, provide livelihoods to thousands of people. But what sort of employment do the zones create? Are the benefits of SEZs in terms of employment sustainable? It is important to remember that SEZs entice investors with the promise of cheap labour and a peaceful work environment.
The plight of workers
Take the example of the Madras Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) at Thambaram, on the outskirts of Chennai. The zone, set up in 1984, became an SEZ in 2002 along with seven other Special Export Processing Zones (Kandla, Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Falta, Noida, Surat and Indore). It currently houses over 100 factories, all of them 100% export-oriented. The zone employs around 22,000 workers. About 70% of them are women, most between 18 and 30 years of age. In the morning, company buses pick them up from the suburbs, even villages as far away as 60 km in the neighbouring districts of Chengalpettu, Thiruvallur and Vellur. Many of the workers are contract labourers supplied to the companies by recruiting agencies operating in the villages. They are employed on short-term contracts so that they can be hired and fired at any time. Most of the workers do not get even the minimum wage.
Since industries in the zones are export-oriented, the emphasis is on minimising production costs so that prices are competitive in the international market. It is the workers, especially women, who bear the brunt of tight competition in the global market. To meet production targets, they are compelled to work harder and longer until they burn out or quit. They work 10-12 hours a day, without overtime, and get daily wages ranging between Rs 30 and Rs 70.
“The management keeps on increasing the work quota,” says a 21-year-old sewing machine operator in a garments unit, speaking on condition that neither her name nor that of the factory are revealed lest she be fired from her job. “Most days we can’t even take a break for tea or lunch. If we even lift our heads to talk to others whilst working, the supervisors shout at us.” Many workers complain that if they are unable to finish the quota, supervisors take away their identity cards, making it impossible for them to mark their attendance.
The pressure to meet stiff targets often means that workers can hardly take any time off, even to visit the toilet. “Each of us has a token number, and every time we go to the toilet this number is entered against our names. They check the register to find out how many entries are made. If there are many entries against a person’s name, they can even cut our salary or increment,” says a 29-year-old woman working in a leather unit.
Workers point out that even pregnant women do not get any consideration when work targets are set, and that they too are forced to work standing or sitting for hours at a stretch. Companies reportedly prefer unmarried women who are assumed to be more efficient and more easily available for overtime work. According to workers, some companies employ women on condition that they do not get married or pregnant in the near future. “At the time of recruitment I removed my thali and told them that I was unmarried,” says a 25-year-old worker from Kerala who migrated to Chennai to work in the zone. “At that time I actually had a three-month-old baby.”
It is true that some international buyers insist on healthy and safe working conditions and reasonable wages. They play a crucial role in determining the working environment in the firms. Some buyers even visit the companies and place orders only when they are satisfied with the facilities there. There are a few companies in all the zones that abide by labour laws and recognise workers’ basic rights as well as the importance of healthy industrial relations. While some lucky employees benefit from this positive trend, thousands of others try to earn their living in an atmosphere of threat, fear and uncertainty.
Stiff targets, overwork and an unhealthy work environment take their toll on the health of workers. A study on female factory workers, mainly at the MEPZ, done by Padmini Swaminathan, director, Madras Institute of Development Studies, revealed that the women suffered from frequent headaches due to tension and intense concentration at work, acute back pain, joint pains, swelling in the legs, severe abdominal pains, various types of allergies, skin ailments, and piles (the result of sitting in the same position for hours on end). The majority of women working in the garment units suffered from respiratory disorders such as asthma, persistent cough and breathlessness.
Since some companies do not remit employers’ and employees’ contributions to the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme, many workers are denied the benefits of the scheme. This also happens in the case of the Provident Fund.
The plight of workers on the lower rungs of the hierarchy is the same in most other such zones: no job security, high levels of work pressure and stress and, not surprisingly, premature burnout.
So why do people still work there? Sajitha, who migrated from a remote village in Kerala’s Idukki district, following the collapse of the plantation sector in the state, to Kochi to take up a job in a garments unit in the Cochin Special Economic Zone (CSEZ), explains: “Had there been any way out I would have escaped from this hell. But I cannot quit this job and go back to my village. My family depends on me. I feel trapped.”
No collective bargaining
Development commissioners (DCs) of various zones have a standard answer to questions about the plight of workers: the zones are not exempt from labour laws. “SEZ workers are entitled to all the rights and benefits enjoyed by workers under various laws outside the zones. Why don’t they complain if there is any violation,” asks C J Mathew, the development commissioner of the CSEZ.
The answer is simple: they are afraid that they will lose their jobs. “The management says that if we let out the truth the company will be closed down,” says Kumaran, a CSEZ worker. He adds that workers are often forced to present a rosy picture of their companies to factory inspectors and enquiry commissions. “Workers in different units are prevented from interacting with each other,” points out Ajitha, another worker in the CSEZ.
Although trade union activities are not banned inside the zones, restrictions on the right to join trade unions, the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike are common features of all the zones. Companies campaign strongly against trade unions and threaten employees with dire consequences if they associate with such organisations. “It is difficult to organise contract labourers, especially women,” says E Ponmudi, secretary, MEPZ Employees Union. “They are so scared that they literally run away on seeing us.” He alleges that while enjoying all the benefits of the zones, the industries squeeze workers in order to maximise their profits, while the central and state governments protect the interests of multinationals by liberalising labour laws.
Ponmudi’s point appears valid. While it is true that, unlike in many other countries, in India, labour laws are also applicable to SEZs, in practice these laws are rarely implemented. Workers hardly benefit from labour legislation, not just because the laws are not implemented properly but also because there are many loopholes in the existing legislation concerning zones. For instance, all zones in the country have been declared ‘public utilities’. This restricts workers from going on strike and reduces the scope for collective bargaining.
In the name of creating an investor-friendly environment, many state governments have formulated SEZ policies that do not protect workers’ rights. For example, under Kerala’s SEZ policy, the powers of the labour commissioner are delegated to the development commissioner. “Who can we take our grievances to,” asks Anju Joseph of the CSEZ Workers’ Union. “The DC is only interested in projecting the image of the zone so as to attract investors.”
Further, except in emergency situations, state government agencies themselves require prior permission from the development commissioner to inspect industrial units in the zone. Also, the zones are exempted from the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970. Andhra Pradesh, a frontrunner in the SEZ promotion business, has laid down rules that prohibit external union leaders, which significantly and adversely affects the ability of workers to resist victimisation by company managements.
In fact, the original SEZ Bill, introduced for debate in Parliament in May 2005, had a number of provisions that denied workers even their basic human rights. For instance, Section 50 of the Bill said: “Directing that any of the provisions of any state Act relating to trade unions, industrial and labour disputes, welfare of labour including condition of work… invalidity, old-age pensions, and maternity benefits or any other activity relating to the SEZ shall not apply…” Though this section was later deleted, under pressure from the Left parties, the fact that it was even drafted shows that the UPA government actually wanted to keep SEZs out of the purview of the country’s labour laws.
Industrial lobbies are demanding more liberalised labour laws -- “like those in China” -- to compete in the international market. Since the 1980s, when the communist nation opened up its economy to foreign investments, millions of young workers have been encouraged to toil for low wages for the sake of the country. But recent reports indicate that China is planning to adopt new legislation that seeks to crack down on sweatshops and protect workers’ rights by giving the hitherto weak labour unions real powers to negotiate worker contracts and ground rules regarding workplace safety and protection. China seems determined to tackle the severe side-effects of the country’s remarkable economic growth. It has taken a quarter of a century for China to realise the perils of the new work culture ushered in by policies that sought to make it the most attractive destination for foreign investment.
Neo-liberal trade and economic policies have already resulted in the spread of an exploitative work culture in India and other developing countries, especially with regard to unorganised labour. And now, apart from huge revenue losses, large-scale displacement of farmers and regional development disparities, the proliferation of SEZs will certainly worsen the plight of workers. In fact, promoting these export enclaves, where domestic trade, tariff and labour laws are not applicable, as the one and only way to development is likely to negatively impact the real development that the country needs.
(M Suchitra is an independent journalist associated with The Quest Features & Footage. She won the Appan Menon Memorial Award 2005 for a study titled, ‘The Socio-economic Impacts of the Proliferation of SEZs in India’)
InfoChange News & Features, February 2007
_______________________________________________Below you see how the US under Bush and especially Obama uses the same terminology in these International Economic Zones as they do worldwide and as everyone in Baltimore knows------any corporation brought to Baltimore has not only hit a tax-free zone but has the commitment of government revenue to subsidize all global corporate structures and operations. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT ECONOMIC ZONES IN ASIA HAVE DONE FOR DECADES. IT'S THE SAME THING.
Here in BAltimore our City Council people run around telling people this area of real estate is promised and that area is promised and land trusts are being used for these same global investors to use land later down the road. Like the article above from India-----the land grabs----the tax-free zones-----the guarantee of 'friendly' labor.
BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION CALLS ITSELF A FEZ----FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE.
Right now a corporate campus may not appear large----but you can bet real estate is being set aside for these campuses to grow.....and this is why all the talk on Baltimore's Election pages have city council candidates shouting the same talking points and commitment to Wall Street and Baltimore Development. They are recruited to run. Take a look at this site for all land set aside in Maryland for now.
IF YOU ARE NOT BELIEVING THESE ZONES WILL OPERATE AS THEY DO OVERSEAS------THEN PLEASE WAKE UP!
U.S. FOREIGN-TRADE ZONES
This list gives the address and phone number of the contact person for each FTZ project. If the contact person is not an employee of the grantee, the name of the grantee organization is also given. If assistance is needed or if your contact information has changed, please call ((202) 482-2862) or e-mail the FTZ Staff, U.S. Department of Commerce.
Grantees: Contact us to add your email and/or web address to the list below
Maryland Department of Commerce
A Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) is a designated area within U.S. borders which promotes domestic employment and helps U.S. firms compete in the global marketplace. An FTZ is located in or near a U.S. Customs port of entry, where foreign and domestic merchandise is generally considered to be inter-national commerce. Foreign or domestic merchandise may enter this enclave without a formal customs entry or the payment of custom duties or government excise taxes.
Foreign-Trade Zone procedures allow domestic activity involving foreign items to take place as if it were outside U.S. Customs territory. Duty-free treatment is accorded items that are re-exported and duty payment is deferred on items sold in the U.S. market, thus offsetting Customs advantages available to overseas producers who compete with producers located in the United States.
A site that has been granted zone status may not be used for zone activity until the site or a section thereof has been separately approved for FTZ activation by local U.S. Customs officials, and the zone activity remains under the supervision of Customs. A subzone is a special-purpose zone, usually at a manufacturing plant.
FTZ sites and facilities remain within the jurisdiction of local, state or federal governments or agencies.
Maryland has four Foreign-Trade Zones:
BWI Airport #73
Prince George's County #63
Washington County #255
Baltimore # 74
The City of Baltimore's Foreign-Trade Zone, FTZ #74 was established in 1982 and has been continually expanded and modified due to various requests for additional space. Zone space, originally 60,000 square feet, currently contains more than 1,254 acres at 33 sites within the City of Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil and Harford counties.
As documented in the 2013 Annual Report, FTZ #74 has 18 operators, and serves 153 businesses employing 1,617 people. Over $15.27 billion worth of goods were transferred to U.S. Customs’ Territory in 2013 and $389.5 million in merchandise was exported from the FTZ to international markets.
Following is a list of selected active sites within FTZ #74. For a map of the zone sites, see baltimoredevelopment.com/for-business/assistance-programs-tax-credits/foreign-trade-zone/.
What are the legal parameters of American politicians designating massive parcels of real estate for these FEZ developments? Martin O'Malley handed our Port of Baltimore to the global investment firm HighStar and calls it an FEZ Port-----the Maryland Assembly passed law the designated all that land listed as FEZ in Maryland ------does anyone know what that meant? All of Baltimore's Maryland Assembly pols pushed for these zone designations and the Baltimore City Council works to make sure all real estate sales meet with these plans. We even have a politician running on corporate Land Trusts to save for the future land in Baltimore for these global economic zone players.
The subprime mortgage loan fraud was part and parcel of this real estate grab in US cities as they clear the way for these massive foreign zones. IS IT LEGAL? I will be looking at this question more closely but I do know this-----IT WAS DONE WITH NO ONE UNDERSTANDING THE GOALS. WE ARE TOLD---THIS IS AN ECONOMIC ZONE FOR JOBS JOBS JOBS.
They are making these contracts and tax deals decades into the future thinking they can control all policy as regards development from all citizens at the state or local level? NO BOUNDARIES------
All of the work Congress, your state and local government is done for this goal----that is why they are not paying attention to you and me. This is what SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT MEANS.
'The real challenges come in delivering that infrastructure in a well-planned, carefully integrated and financially sustainable way."'
You can see here why we are heading for this coming economic crash from bond market fraud. Ireland is Bill Clinton's first International Economic Zone in the developed nations-----Ireland is now crippled economically.
'The KPMG report also took note of how the more developed world might be looking to zones in a less patronizing manner in the wake of the global financial crisis. As the Al Franken character Stuart Smalley might have put it, "I'm an emerging market too, and that's … okay."'
COVER STORY/ PORTS & FREE TRADE ZONES
From Site Selection magazine, November 2012
No man is an island, but some of the best enclaves for industry are.
by ADAM BRUNS
The best free trade zone is no zone at all, personified in the duty-free port status of the entire Hong Kong special administrative region.
Photo courtesy of Asian Financial Forum
Is it better to play favorites with project-specific packages, or to improve conditions more generally for everybody, thereby eliminating the need for all that incentives deal-making?
The same conundrum is evident when it comes to physically demarcated free trade zones. Should a port or city or nation devote its time to developing and administering such bounded areas, or do what it can to make its entire territory, in effect, one big zone of industrial bliss?
Look to Singapore or Hong Kong as shining examples. Or look to eastern China, where boundaried zones have proliferated to the extent that, from the outside looking in, it might as well be one big zone. The Republic of Korea's internal competition among zones has led to several excellent models such as the Incheon Free Economic Zone and the Gwangyang Free Economic Zone. Vietnam's burgeoning roster of zones is also engaged in healthy competition — a recent internal ranking of them sparked a fusillade of objections that only served to point out to corporations how many good choices there really are.
Maybe zones are, paradoxically, the best path toward no longer needing them.
"The argument for special economic zones (or SEZs) is hard to refute," stated a Sept. 2011 report from KPMG, noting the SEZ leadership of Singapore, China and India, and the growing popularity and use of zones across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. But, it pointed out, "matching up industries to infrastructure is relatively straightforward stuff. The real challenges come in delivering that infrastructure in a well-planned, carefully integrated and financially sustainable way."
Hartley Powell, principal in the Global Location and Expansion Services practice at KPMG, LLP, says whether zones are advantageous or not depends on the type of operation. He also says U.S. zones cannot be compared with zones in the rest of the world, which he equates to "what I would call a certified site. This is the way these countries attract investment — land and buildings are abundant, permitting risks are eliminated, all infrastructure is in place, there is a consistent and advantageous taxing environment, there is clustering of industries, labor risks are eliminated and time to market is reduced. So it's a lot more than import/export. You can come up with some real savings by locating in a zone in another country. "
Powell ticks off prominent zone programs in Ireland, Panama and Brazil. He characterizes Latin American zones as "really strong." But "China is off the charts."
One site consultant says he has no favorite free trade zones. That's because, in his 13 years in site selection across NAFTA, "almost none of our clients have expressed meaningful interest in or need for" free trade zones (called foreign trade zones or FTZs in the U.S.). He says regular incentives "frankly often have a greater financial impact than the tax/duty savings that FTZs specialize in. Each of the few companies that I have worked with that evaluated FTZs for their facilities concluded that the gains would not be worth the effort or tradeoffs of being in a FTZ. Savings are suggested but never quantified and put in the context of the entire operating cost structure and the impacts of location on costs."
That's not just a NAFTA problem. In May 2012, published reports recounted Siemens' request to free its subsidiary from the free trade zone system in Colombia, where administering compliance was proving to be not worth the tax and customs exemptions. Another site consultant cites difficulties in India, and yet another says too much red tape caused his client to bail on a project. Indeed, asked what they'd most like to see improved across the board, respondents cite simplified reporting and more flexible terms.
The historic Port of Veracruz in Mexico aims to develop a 165-acre (67-hectare) strategic trade zone focused on logistics. Long term, a second port with 55 berths called Veracruz II is in the works.
Photo courtesy of API Veracruz
Such experiences aside, there are standouts. Among U.S. FTZ leaders named by other survey respondents are FTZs in Charleston, S.C.; Denver, Colo.; Tucson, Ariz.; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Granite City, Ill., along the Mississippi River near St. Louis. Also prominent in their superior results are the FTZs associated with the Alliance projects in North Texas, California and, now, Jacksonville. Where are zones improving the most? Respondents named such territories as Germany, Canada, the Middle East, Malaysia and Indonesia, where Batam — like Hong Kong and Singapore — is an island city that functions as one large free trade zone.
Greece is looking at zones as a possible path to fiscal salvation. Laos is pursuing a zone program. Zones in the Middle East continue to attract corporate interest, especially in the UAE, where the newest entrant, the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, is expected to be complete by the end of this year.
Even as it looks to invest billions in zones surrounding its own ports, Brazil, led by a leading bank and a glass manufacturer, is working with a Singapore-based port operator in Cuba to make a zone at the famous Port of Mariel, whence some 125,000 Cubans fled to the U.S. in the early 1980s. Honduras has continued to nurse high hopes for a new special development region. South Africa is trying to launch a new zone program (not without some blowback). And Panama's Colon Free Trade Zone is doing its best to capitalize on the canal expansion that so many other ports have been preparing for over the past few years.
But free trade zones aren't only for the up-and-coming. The KPMG report also took note of how the more developed world might be looking to zones in a less patronizing manner in the wake of the global financial crisis. As the Al Franken character Stuart Smalley might have put it, "I'm an emerging market too, and that's … okay."
"Western governments may want to look to Poland for inspiration," noted KPMG. "The only EU country to successfully deliver a SEZ, the country now has 14 that span a number of industrial sectors. Interestingly, Poland was the only EU country to avoid a decline in GDP during the recent recession (in fact, it had the highest GDP growth in the EU in 2009) and is considered to be one of the healthiest economies to come out of the post-Communist bloc."
The Next 600 Million
There is little doubt that Asian zones set the bar in terms of both superior service and scale, beginning with such Chinese stars as Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area and the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, where DHL in July opened its $175-million, 88,000-sq.-m. (947,255-sq.-ft.) North Asia Hub. The logistics giant also plans to invest another $132 million to add eight aircraft to service high-demand routes between Shanghai and North Asia, Europe and the U.S. by 2014.
DHL’s new North Asia Hub is located in the Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone in the Pudong area of Shanghai. The zone was among the first in China, which now boasts 150 zones of various types conferring benefits to occupants.
Photo courtesy of DHL
DHL's Asia Pacific fleet already numbers 40, and the company has said it will continue to invest in facilities and infrastructure as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community looks to integration by 2015. The ASEAN region has a population of 600 million.
"DHL Express North Asia Hub is a logistics milestone in DHL's Asia Pacific network and the culmination of a multi-hub and aviation strategy that cements our leadership position in terms of connections, convenience and cost-effectiveness," said Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL. "With Asia's leading economies fast integrating and free trade agreements reducing barriers to international commerce, logistics companies need capabilities that are ahead of the curve and offer simplicity, speed and service."
Some see the next link in the free zone chain coming in Russia, where a 15-zone program already in operation is complimented by new port investments in such locations as Vladivostock in order to cement ties with the Asia Pacific.
DHL's other Asia Pacific hubs are in Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok, where the company in May opened its fifth distribution center with a $2.7-million investment. Its primary hub in Thailand is located in the customs free zone at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. New aircraft connections to other Chinese cities such as Dalian, Qingdao, Beijing and Xiamen are coming this year and next year. The company was the first international express company to enter China 32 years ago — right about the time the PRC's first free zones were making their debut.
As recently as 2009, the Waigaoqiao zone hosted companies employing 215,900 people.
In a report published this year, "Rebalancing and Sustaining Growth in China," authors Huw McKay and Ligang Song of The Australian National University report that China had developed 55 export processing zones by 2010, with Jiangsu province home to 12 of them. The Kunshan EPZ in Jiangsu is the largest in the People's Republic.
Since 1980, the nation also has developed at least eight SEZs, 33 Economic-Technological Development Zones, 49 High-tech Industrial Development Zones and five bonded zones or export-oriented units (EOUs). "Total processing imports in these free-trade zones accounted for more than 22 per cent of China's processing imports," in 2010, said the report.
When Zones Outrun Demand
Developing a zones plan is one thing. Filling those zones with dynamic activity is another. India, for one, has reconnoitered a bit after adding 323 zones in 2005 to the 19 that existed before an official government SEZ policy came into effect. As for which are actually operational, the total comes to 158, according to the government of India's own website at sezindia.gov.in. The number of SEZs approved either formally or in principle in India comes to 637, with the most found in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, in that order.
The phenomenon is not unique to India. A total of 24 Export Processing Zones have sprouted in Nigeria since the first one — the Calabar Free Trade Zone — appeared in late 2001. But only 11 are operational.
The Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex integrated refinery and petrochemicals construction project included the building of a new world-scale ethylene cracker on Bukom Island, Singapore, that benefited from the city-state’s free zone status. With the completion of the complex in May 2010, Bukom now serves as an integrated oil and petrochemicals site.
The minutes of India's SEZ Board of Approval meeting held in September 2012 begin with statistics touting the fact that 588 formal approvals have been granted for setting up of SEZs out of which presently 386 stand notified." Exports from SEZs were up in value by nearly 15.4 percent for FY 2011-12, said the chairman. But the dozens of agenda items that followed were littered with news of approval extensions and reductions in zone acreage, as well as outright withdrawals of zones. Some blame the re-imposition of a minimum alternative tax on zone occupants, and the pending consideration by the central government of doing away with SEZs' income tax exemption.
Yet even as Indian SEZs undergo criticism for everything from real estate price escalation schemes to the recurring issue of inappropriate land acquisition from poor communities, the country's central government looks to overlay yet another plan involving National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) measuring at least 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) each. The government is asking states to start assembling land banks to help the process along.
And there's yet another big plan out there: The $90-billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor — also from the central government, but trying to access funds from abroad — will stretch across seven states; link Delhi with Mumbai; and feature high-speed freight rail, a six-lane highway and a 4,000-MW power plant. It's also due to include nine industrial zones and 24 new cities.
In other words, one big zone.
The Business Times of India reported in August that India's SEZs had created 680,000 jobs since 2006, and account for approximately a quarter of all exports. A review of export totals from India's SEZs in 2010-2011 shows that of the seven zones set up by the central government before the new policy came into effect in 2005, the Cochin SEZ in Cochin, Kerala, is the far-and-away leader, with total exports worth more than US$3.3 billion. The SEEPZ SEZ in Mumbai comes next at $2.17 billion, followed by the Noida SEZ in Uttar Pradesh and the MEPZ SEZ in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Among the 21 state-run SEZs established before 2005, the Nokia SEZ in Tamil Nadu (named for the eponymous Finnish phone maker) led by far with exports valued at more than $2.5 billion, followed by Manikanchan SEZ in Kolkata, West Bengal, which specializes in gems and jewelry.
Other high totals come from zones established for such companies as Wipro, Infosys and Tata. Company-specific zones are indeed doing their part for corporate facility growth. Indian biotech giant Biocon got its 90-acre (36-hectare) Biocon Park in the Bommasandra area of Bangalore approved as an SEZ in 2005, and has populated it since with facilities operated by its various companies, with accompanying investment equivalent to $121 million.
This year the company inaugurated a new 300-scientist R&D center in April, then welcomed a five-year research contract and new 13,000-sq.-ft. (1,208-sq.-m.) R&D center from Abbott, working with Biocon subsidiary Syngene.
"India is a priority market for investment, growth and innovation," said Robert H. Miller, Ph.D., divisional vice president, global research and development and scientific affairs for Abbott Nutrition. There were 114 reporting zones among those created since the 2005 decree. Beating all of the above in export value is the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) zone in Jamnagar, Gujarat, with a figure of more than $19.3 billion, thanks to the presence there of a Reliance oil refinery and petrochemical complex. Company materials relate that the complex is "the largest industrial project ever implemented by anyone from the Indian corporate sector," representing $6 billion in investment and a total area of more than 7,500 acres (3,035 hectares).
It was all built in less than three years thanks to a construction work force of 75,000 working round the clock for months on end. The complex includes a "self-contained" 415-acre (168-hectare) township, Reliance Greens, for over 2,500 Reliance employees and their families. In 2010, Boston Consulting Group ranked RIL as the second highest 'Sustainable Value Creator' for creating the most shareholder value over the decade in the world.
In July, RIL announced the selection of Technip to implement an ethylene cracker project at the site. Its products will be utilized for a sequence of new downstream petrochemical plants being built at Jamnagar.