Novelis Seeks Exclusions From Aluminum Tariffs On Canada, Which ‘Hurt’ Oswego Plant

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SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Aluminum tariffs on Canada are hurting companies like Novelis in Oswego, which has to pay significant duties on material it imports from Kingston, Ontario. Novelis is seeking exclusions from the federal government on some of the products they import.

Sen. Charles Schumer shakes hands with Novelis Oswego Plant Manager Kevin Shutt. TOM MAGNARELLI / WRVO PUBLIC MEDIA

The Novelis Oswego facility produces a billion pounds of aluminum products a year, used in the automotive, building and beverage can industries. Oswego Plant Manager Kevin Shutt said they’re tied to a plant in Kingston.

“It really put a hurt on us, the tariffs, making it very difficult for us to ship back and forth across the border,” Shutt said. “And that was just a normal part of business for us.”

Last year, the Trump administration implemented tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from countries that included Canada and China. Sen. Charles Schumer said he supports going after China, which he said massively subsidize their aluminum products and hurt American workers.

“But don’t go after Canada, don’t go after Mexico,” Schumer said. “These are good trading partners that actually create jobs.”

With more than a thousand employees, Novelis is an anchor in Oswego, according to Oswego County Legislator Shane Broadwell.

“It’s really important,” Broadwell said. “Anything we can do like this to support the senator’s initiative with the tariffs; just to continue the wind under the sails for Novelis, for the future and help protect the growth that they’ve had. Their employees, their families are so deep and intertwined in our community.”

Many of the nearly 900 products Novelis imports from Canada have been approved to be excluded from tariffs. But Schumer is urging the Department of Commerce and Customs and Border Protection to expedite the review of the remaining 250 requests.