POCATELLO -- The U.S. Department of Commerce has granted foreign-trade zone status to the Hoku Scientific manufacturing plant planned for Pocatello.
Agency officials announced the status Monday that exempts the company from having to pay taxes on foreign raw materials that are imported for the purpose of later being exported.
Hoku picked Pocatello for its new plant to make polysilicon panels for producing solar energy. Hoku officials anticipate that more than 80 percent of its annual production of polysilicon to be exported to China.
Hoku Chief Executive Officer Dustin Shindo says the ruling helps ensure the plant will be globally competitive over time.
The Pocatello plant had been projected to add about 200 jobs to the region by mid-2010, something local and state leaders have been counting on to help revive Idaho's sputtering economy.