NEWPORT – The Northeast Kingdom has received foreign trade zone status, which allows qualifying companies to import or export products without paying tariffs and taxes.This designation will benefit businesses, including the foreign companies planning to open in Newport as part of a Bill Stenger and partners' regional economic development initiative, the biotechnology company (AnC Bio Vermont), and the German company Menck Window Systems.The designation is expected to spur economic development and ease constraints on international commerce.Business and supportive organization leaders met Monday at the Gateway Center in Newport to discuss what they can offer to current businesses or potential new ones. The event was Small Business Matters: Connect for Success, facilitated by Patricia Sears, the executive director of Newport Renaissance Corp. Sears and Steve Patterson with NVDA gave a brief update on the proposed developments. Patterson described the benefits of having Federal Trade Zone status. He also said there is a Canadian recruitment program that has been ongoing and that one company, which would create 100 jobs, is very interested in opening a business locally. Patterson said the company is not ready to go public yet. For more of this story, see Thursday's edition of The Newport Daily Express for March 28, 2013.