BALTIMORE, Md.—United Safety Technologies’ mission to bring domestically produced personal protective equipment and create supply chain resilience has received another vote of confidence from the U.S. government.
UST, which is on track to open its nitrile glove manufacturing plant in Sparrows Point, Md., this year with the renovation of an abandoned steel mill, was granted approval for its production activity by the Foreign-Trade Zones Board of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The authorization allows UST to manufacture its products using imported materials at significantly reduced or eliminated tariffs, the company said in an April 18 news release.
This, UST added, reduces the cost of production and helps “ensure high-quality domestically manufactured PPE” at a competitive price.
“We are on track to open our best-in-class facilities this fall, featuring state-of-the-art manufacturing and efficiency,” UST President and Founder Dan Izhaky said in a statement.
The $350 million investment breathes life into the idled steel mill, formerly belonging to Bethlehem Steel, which closed in 2012. The plant will bring more than 2,000 jobs to Baltimore County, Izhaky said.
UST received a $96.1 million contract in June 2021 from the U.S. Department of Defense, in conjunction with U.S. Health and Human Services, to initiate the production of American-made, medical- grade nitrile exam gloves.
“Today’s announcement means that we can import the supplies we need cost-efficiently and ship our products in a competitive manner,” Izhaky said. “This will help make UST and the domestic PPE industry more competitive on the world stage.”
UST’s long-term vision is to source all raw materials and components domestically, but until then, the FTZ approval will grant the Sparrows Point facility the ability to source 22 ingredients of its raw materials duty-free globally. It also will allow the company to export its final products without duties.
“This is crucial as UST and the PPE industry await robust domestic availability of these materials,” the company said, noting it is one of “only a few” American-made PPE manufacturers to earn the FTZ designation.
“In a time of competitive headwinds and supply chain disruptions from PPE manufacturing in the Far East, this will be a boon for American-made PPE,” UST added.
UST’s facility will sit within Federal Trade Zone Subzone 74D.
“The Foreign-Trade Zone benefits extend beyond UST to Baltimore and the entire Mid-Atlantic region,” the company said.
The designation will help facilitate and expedite international trade, according to UST, which noted that it also will help UST compete to supply its domestic enterprise customers, conduct international trade and distribute its products in nearly every business and government sector.
“American-made PPE is a key element to a diverse and resilient supply chain,” Izhaky said. “The FTZ designation means we can reduce our production costs and pass those savings along to the medical, government, schools and business sectors—where cost can often be an important driver in decision-making.”