Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Bill Owens today announced that after their push, the Department of Commerce's Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) Board has granted Jefferson County's North American Tapes a FTZ status. This Foreign Trade Zone status means North American Tapes (NAT) will now be on a more level playing field with foreign competitors and save tens of thousands of dollars each month on import duties, which had been holding the company back from expanding production and adding jobs. Thanks to the new-found savings, North American Tapes can move forward with its plans to double the size of their facility and increase their workforce by 50%. Before their push, the company's application had been delayed for more than two years.
"North American Tapes employs local North Country workers and has been a bedrock company for the Jefferson County community --so I went to bat with Congressman Owens to get them the designation they needed to compete on a level playing field with foreign manufacturers. Today, we're pleased to announce that the Foreign Trade Zone Board has answered our call, and will grant North American Tapes the much-needed Foreign Trade Zone manufacturing designation," said Schumer. "Now, with this designation in hand, North American Tapes is expected to save thousands of dollars a month in duties, which they can pump right back in their business--to expand production and grow jobs in the North Country."
Representative Bill Owens said, "Foreign Trade Zones give small businesses like North American Tapes the edge they need to compete against their foreign counterparts. I was pleased to work with Senator Schumer to secure this important designation for North American Tapes, and I will continue supporting policies that help northern New York's entrepreneurs win in the global marketplace and keep and grow jobs in our communities."
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 removes 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%. Two years ago, 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.