FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 10, 2012
SCHUMER, OWENS: FEDS MUST QUICKLY MOVE ON NORTH AMERICAN TAPES’ FREE TRADE ZONE APPLICATION – LENGTHY PROCESS MEANS COMPANY CONTINUES TO PAY THOUSANDS IN UNFAIR DUTIES EACH MONTH
Currently, North American Tapes Is Getting Whacked With High Duties On Imports From Canada, Costing Company $13,000 Each Month and Holding Back New Jobs
After One Year of Waiting On Application For Free Trade Zone To Break Down Trade Barriers & Create Jobs, Lawmakers Call On Feds To Act Quickly And Approve Applications
Schumer, Owens: North American Tapes Deserves This Job Creating Status, And They Deserve It Now
WATERTOWN – Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Bill Owens called on the Department of Commerce’s Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) Board to ensure that a Jefferson County business gets a fair shake in its application process to be granted FTZ status. North American Tapes (NAT) employs locally and would have the ability to expand and put New Yorkers back to work with the approval of its application from the FTZ Board. The company’s application has been delayed for more than a year.
“In this economy, when we have the chance to protect and grow jobs in the North Country, we have to move full speed ahead instead of getting bogged down in red tape,” said Schumer. “North American Tapes has already been waiting for a year, which is why we’re calling on the Commerce Department to get moving and give the company the level playing field it deserves. With this Foreign Trade Zone designation, NAT will be free from burdensome tariffs and free to create good-paying, family-sustaining North Country jobs.”
“Northern New York businesses make our area proud with their innovation, dedication, and sense of community,” Owens said. “Foreign trade zones provide an important opportunity for local entrepreneurs to boost their exports and provide them with the tools they need to thrive in the global marketplace.”
North American Tapes is the second largest hockey tape manufacturer in the world, and must compete with tape imports from Canada, Brazil and China. Receiving FTZ status would remove a significant disadvantage for the Northern New York business while eliminating high duties on the textile input materials it uses in manufacturing adhesive tapes – approximately $13,000 a month. Across the border, Canadian adhesive tape manufacturers pay no duties on these imports.
NAT employs more than twenty New Yorkers and, with an approved FTZ application, has plans to double the size of their facility and increase their workforce by up to 50%. Last year, Senator Schumer urged the Department of Commerce to approve NAT’s application for the FTZ, which would save the company thousands each month, and could lead to job creation. Congressman Owens visited NAT last year to view operations firsthand and has worked with the Watertown business and Schumer to ensure that New York jobs are protected.
A copy of a letter to Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary of the FTZ Board, from Senator Schumer and Congressman Owens appears below:
Dear Mr. McGilvray:
We are writing in support of North American Tapes LLC’s pending application to provide Permanent Manufacturing Authority within Jefferson County’s Foreign Trade Zone 109 in Watertown, New York.
North American Tapes currently employs 24 people and our understanding is that they have expansion plans for further capital investments in the Watertown area. We understand the FTZ Board has received opposition letters from at least four U.S. textile producers, claiming that granting the requested FTZ benefits would have a negative impact on their businesses.
We have been assured by North American Tapes that they are in the process of producing a rebuttal to these objections that will be supported by factual and substantive data. We respectfully request that a final determination on North American Tapes’ application not be made until these additional comments can be reviewed against the claims made in the letters of opposition.
This application is important to retaining and creating jobs in Upstate New York. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
United States Senator
United States Senator