Foreign Trades Zones or Free Trade Zones (FTZs)

The development of the Art market and the explosion in the number of trade fairs and exhibitions worldwide have led to greater volume and faster circulation of Art works. Yet transport costs plus various international taxes can significantly dampen these movements.

One response to these obstacles has been the Foreign or Free Trade Zone (FTZ). FTZs have become an essential tool of trading and storage of various goods including Art works. They are port areas in which goods are loaded, unloaded and supervised by Customs authorities while being exempt from many taxes. During its transit, a work may change hands several times while only the final purchaser will pay the taxes due in the country of destination. This constitutes the main financial appeal of the FTZs.


They also have many other advantages, which include:

  • Relatively low insurance and storage costs;
  • Optimal security conditions;
  • Showrooms equipped to present the works in the best conditions and to appraise or restore them.

In addition, confidentiality and discretion are always respected. International collectors/investors, gallery owners, dealers, brokers and several renowned museums use the warehouses within the FTZs. The exponential growth in FTZs around the world is evidence that the Art market in the 21st century is truly global, efficient and liquid.

Geneva, Switzerland is the largest FTZ in the world for fine Art works! This facility is spread over 150.000 m2 or 1,600,000 sqft. At any given time, it stores a total of over one million paintings and other Art works. Due to growing demand for space, the Geneva FTZ is set to grow further in the coming years. There are still an additional 40.000 m2 or 430,000 sqft of buildable area.