A subsidiary of Oregon's largest air cargo line and a Seattle company that packs and unpacks air containers will become operators of new foreign trade zone space at Portland International Airport.

Evergreen Aviation Ground Logistics Enterprises, or Eagle, a division of Evergreen International Inc. of McMinnville, Ore., and Sea-Air Handling Services Inc., operator of a container freight station at Portland International, were chosen to offer trade zone space to the public.Executives at Portland International Airport said Eagle and Sea-Air first will develop small foreign trade zone areas on property in the Port of Portland's South Cargo Complex.

But the companies also are authorized to seek federal activation of new trade zone warehouses or assembly plants anywhere on 3,583 acres at Portland International.

Portland's trade zone originally covered only a few acres, but Oregon's largest port last year convinced the Foreign Trade Zone Board in Washington, D.C., to designate a much larger area for potential trade zone use.

Advance designation of trade zone sites allows businesses with potential trade zone uses to begin trade zone operations in weeks rather than months or years.

Prospective users have complained that the previous system for setting up trade zones was so slow that opportunities sometimes vanished before the paperwork could be completed.

Peggy Krause, coordinator of Portland's foreign trade zone program, said trade zone sites now can be custom-designed to meet the needs of either maritime or air cargo shippers.

Companies that want to deal with the foreign trade zone's strict requirements for security and bookkeeping still can set up their own FTZ site, but now also have the option of having Eagle and Sea-Air do that for them.

In recent years, trade zones have won growing acceptance with inventory managers seeking to defer duties or eliminate drawbacks.

Imports stored at a Portland foreign trade zone site and later moved in bond to zones in the Midwest or East Coast can defer Customs duties until they leave trade zone custody permanently for sale in the United States.

Powdered milk imported to be mixed with Oregon grains into pancake mix for re-export can avoid duties entirely.

Auto preparers that install foreign-built stereos that add hundreds of

dollars to the cost of each car also can save big on their duties if the components are added in a trade zone.

Duties are based only on the price of the component, not on the amount the equipment can add to the overall cost of the car.