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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Boost Fishing and Seafood Industries in Virginia Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3 million grant to Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc, of Blacksburg, Virginia, to help build a research center in Hampton that will assist the fishing and seafood industries across the Commonwealth, and those located in the Eastern Shore counties of Accomac and Northampton in particular. The grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $4.2 million in state and local funds and is expected to retain 408 jobs.

“The Trump Administration, and the Department of Commerce in particular, is committed to supporting aquaculture throughout the country,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will help establish the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (VSAREC) in Hampton to support the growth of the local seafood industry and attract additional investment through special Opportunity Zone tax incentives.”

“The new VSAREC facility in Hampton will provide research and technical services needed to support the Commonwealth’s fishing and seafood sectors and support job retention in those industries,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “The project’s location in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone will provide additional tax incentives for business development.”

The funding announced today goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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