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City of Lufkin endorses Twin Disc’s foreign trade zone application

LUFKIN – Lufkin City Council on Tuesday evening expressed its support for Twin Disc, Inc. to become the city’s first foreign trade zone “active operator.”

The City Council voted unanimously in its 5 p.m. meeting to provide a letter of endorsement to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Foreign Trade Zones Board on Twin Disc’s behalf. The federal board has final approval on a business’ active operator status to ensure the accompanying ad valorem tax exemption is in the public interest. Upon approval, a portion of Twin Disc’s inventory will be exempt.

“Twin Disc is the first company to leverage the FTZ, and with its passage, our community is excited to watch Twin Disc grow and prosper in Lufkin,” Lufkin Economic Development Director Bob Samford said.

Twin Disc operates a 50,000-square-foot power transmission assembly plant in the City’s Business Park off State Highway 103 East. The business, headquartered in Racine, WI, opened its doors in 2020.The prospect of a future FTZ designation is one of the many things that attracted it to Lufkin, according to Twin Disc CEO John Batten.

“The heritage of Twin Disc is deeply rooted in the rich history of manufacturing in Racine and Lufkin,” Batten said. “Twin Disc looks forward to being Lufkin’s first active operator in their FTZ. The FTZ will be a fantastic program to help grown our Lufkin location.”

In Dec. 2019, Lufkin became one of only 300 FTZs in the country following a complicated application process riddled with hurdles, according to Samford. An FTZ-designated city is required to have an active operator within five years, or it loses its designation.

With community support, Twin Disc is primed for application approval. Under Twin Disc’s active operator status, the City will retain its FTZ designation and remain a strong competitor for new international business.

“The FTZ will continue to attract international activity, supply chain jobs, and diversified investments to East Texas,” Samford said. “The Economic Development Corporation is optimistic about future opportunities that equal long-term, generational jobs.”