Saturday, 06 June, 2020


3M fires back at Trump over order to produce more face masks

Can Stock White House tells US respiratory manufacturer to stop exporting to Canada | News
Bennie Garza | 05 April, 2020, 22:22

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reminding his counterpart in Washington that trade goes both ways after 3M was ordered to stop exporting medical equipment to Canada and Latin markets.

In a statement, 3M said that halting such exports could adversely affect America's own supply if other countries choose to retaliate, prompting President Donald Trump to reveal that his administration was "not at all happy" with the company.

"As we've been telling the administration for days and days", Roman added, "We're happy to ship our overseas production to the U.S. However, there are consequences on a humanitarian level and that includes stopping exports to Canada and Latin America".

"That is the opposite of what we and the Administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek", the company said in a statement.

On Thursday, Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to obtain more N95 respirators "after seeing what they were doing with their masks", according to his post on Twitter, without elaborating.

"That's why we are working so hard to ensure that we get the right supplies to them in the right amount of time".

"Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing - will have a big price to pay!"

3M is redirecting an additional 10 million of its China-made masks per month to the United States beginning this week, Roman said.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was far less diplomatic in his reaction to the USA measure, blasting the Trump administration for trying to block essential medical equipment from coming to Canada.

"We are not looking at retaliatory measures or measures that are punitive", Trudeau said from outside his Rideau Cottage residence Saturday.

3M, based in St. Paul, Minn., is one of the largest USA providers of protective medical gear, second only to North Carolina-based conglomerate Honeywell, which has been expanding and retooling facilities across the continent to ramp up its N95 production.

On Friday, American manufacturing giant 3M warned of consequences and retaliatory tactics against the United States, should the Trump administration continue to limit the export of personal protective equipment, intended for frontline medical professionals overseas. It said it supported both moves. "If people don't give us what we need for our people, we're going to be very tough, and we've been very tough".

Asked whether Canada would retaliate if the USA blockade goes ahead, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Ottawa would "do whatever it takes to defend the national interest".

The manufacturer has doubled the amount of N95 masks brought into Canada during the first three months of the year and 90% of them that come in are designated for healthcare workers and first responders.

The company said stopping the export of respirators would cause other countries to stop shipments to the USA, leading to fewer respirators being available. The situation led Trump to invoke the Defence Production Act, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss events that have not been made public.

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