3M,US Make Deal;Will Send Canada Masks 04/07 06:09
TORONTO (AP) -- Manufacturing giant 3M said Monday it has an agreement with
the Trump administration that will allow the company to continue to export N95
protective masks to Canada and Latin America amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The company said the U.S. government and 3M have a plan to produce 166.5
million masks over the next three months to support healthcare workers in the
United States. They will primarily come from its manufacturing facility in
President Donald Trump had used his authority under the 1950 Defense
Production Act to stop exporting such masks, also known as respirators. The
move to block such masks, which are crucial in protecting healthcare workers on
both sides of the border from the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, outraged
many officials in Canada.
"3M and the Administration worked together to ensure that this plan does not
create further humanitarian implications for countries currently fighting the
COVID-19 outbreak," the company said in a statement. "The plan will also enable
3M to continue sending U.S. produced respirators to Canada and Latin America,
where 3M is the primary source of supply."
3M issued a statement last week saying that could have "significant
humanitarian implications" for healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America.
The company had said possible retaliation by other nations could actually lead
to fewer of the masks being available in the U.S.
The premier of Canada's most populous province, Ontario, said earlier Monday
that U.S. officials had stopped 3 million masks from getting to Ontario from
3M, though he said was told that 500,000 of them were being released Monday.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that he was hopeful Canada would get an
exemption and that he felt better about that after speaking with U.S. Trade
Representative Robert Lighthizer.
"It is absolutely critical that they except Canada from this presidential
order," Ford said.
Ford said delays in global shipments and recent restrictions at the U.S.
border had left Ontario with about a one-week supply of critical protective
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the flow of medical
equipment benefits both countries and needs to continue.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that U.S.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had spoken to Canada's foreign minister about it
and "reiterated the United States' desire to work with Canada to ensure the
viability of international supply chains for crucial medical supplies and
personnel, while also meeting the needs of regions with the most severe
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has noted Canada supplies the U.S.
with many supplies for the medical sector, including pulp for surgical-grade
N95 masks, test kits and gloves. Canadian nurses also work in the U.S.