Feedback: Watertown Business Could Leave Without Foreign Trade Zone Designation

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A Watertown manufacturer could be forced to move to Canada if it doesn't receive special designation from the federal government.

That's according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, who says he's calling on the Commerce Department to grant North American Tapes a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) designation that would allow it to save money on duties it pays.

Without FTZ designation, Schumer says, North American Tapes could be forced to move to Canada, costing the area over 20 jobs.

Schumer said in a press release that if it receives FTZ status, North American Tapes will be able to add new jobs and complete  a 24,000-square-foot addition to its facility at the Jefferson County Industrial Park.

North American Tapes manufactures pressure-sensitive athletic tape. Schumer says the company wants to be able to import duty free the textiles it needs to manufacture its tape, which would save the company about $13,000 a month.

Competing companies in Canada do not have to pay duty on the materials, so they have an advantage over North American Tapes, Schumer said.

According to the senator, the company could be forced to move to Canada to stay competitive.

“We need the feds to release North American Tapes from the penalty box," Schumer said.

"This company wants to stay here in the North Country and grow, but anti-competitive tariffs are hampering their ability to do business,” he said.  "We need to do everything we can to hang on to North Country jobs like those at North American Tapes."

Company owner Darrin Prance told 7 News that he's optimistic the Foreign Trade Zone application will be approved.

"We obviously want to stay in Watertown," he said.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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