Trump urges 3M to stop exporting respirator masks

Andrew Cummings
April 5, 2020

"If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease", 3M wrote in a statement Friday. He said exceptions might be made to help Italy and Spain, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump had earlier resorted to invoking a 1950 war act to require companies to prioritise medical equipment orders for the federal government during a public fight with a USA manufacturing company.

He noted health care workers rely on the masks in Canada.

President Trump "hit 3M hard" late Thursday night after Fox News host Tucker Carlson exposed the company has been selling face masks to foreign countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and not filling requests from US purchasers.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he has been in touch with the White House about supposed price gouging by resellers of 3M masks and accused the company of not doing enough to ensure they end up in the hands of medical professionals. "P Act" all the way. "And if they don't, they are going to have a hell of a price to pay".

Canada's reported coronavirus cases rose to 12,924, up 10% in the past day, and 214 deaths, health officials said.

Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, has been leading administration contacts with the company to learn where the masks went and why some were not available as promised.

The latest actions offer a framework to "expand even further the work we are doing in response to the global pandemic crisis", 3M said.

3M said it has raised USA production of N95 masks from 22 million in January to 35 million in March, with the entire increase being distributed in the United States.

Manufacturing giant 3M pushed back Friday against criticism from President Donald Trump over production of face masks that are badly needed by American health care workers.

3M responded by saying there would be "significant humanitarian implications" if the company stopped shipping supplies to those countries as 3M manufactures a critical amount of respirators for those nations.

Roman suggested it will be a challenge for 3M to import numerous N95 masks it makes overseas.

"The idea that we are not doing everything we can to maximize deliveries of respirators in our home country - nothing is further from the truth", he told CNBC.

"Ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same".

Both Canada and Latin America receive N-95 masks from 3M's USA operations, the company said in a statement Friday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also weighed in on the announcement on Friday morning explaining why it would be unwise for the cut off supply to the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite 3M's warning, Trudeau attempted to assuage concerns over shortages by announcing that Canada is set to receive a shipment of "millions" of masks from China in the next two days.

The Premier is also calling on Health Canada to expedite approvals for Ontario-based companies to begin producing masks in the province.

He says his message to Trump in the coming days will be that working together benefits both countries.

The premier called the USA decision "reckless" and says he is reaching out to American governors to try to get it reversed.

Earlier this week, 3M announced it has boosted production of N95 masks to 100 million for the month, which would include 35 million masks per month in the United States. GM said it had been working on ventilators for weeks.

Other reports by iNewsToday