TORONTO (AP) – Manufacturing giant 3M said on Monday that it has an agreement with the Trump administration that will allow the company to continue exporting N95 protective masks to Canada and Latin America amid a coronavirus pandemic.
The company said the US government and 3M have plans to produce 166.5 million masks over the next three months to support health workers in the United States. They will mainly come from manufacturing facilities in China.
President Donald Trump has used his authority under the 1950 Defense Production Act to stop the export of such masks, also known as respirators. The move to block such a mask, which is crucial in protecting health workers on both sides of the border from the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, has angered many officials in Canada.
“3M and the Administration are working 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 main source of supply.”
3M issued a statement last week saying that it could have “significant humanitarian implications” for health workers in Canada and Latin America. The company has said the possibility of retaliation by other countries could actually cause fewer masks available in the US.
The prime minister of Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, said earlier Monday that U.S. officials has stopped 3 million masks from getting to Ontario from 3M, although he told them that 500,000 of them would be released Monday.
Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford said that he hoped Canada would get an exception and that he felt better about it after speaking with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
“It is very important that they except Canadians from this presidential order,” Ford said.
Ford said the delay in global shipments and the recent restrictions on the U.S. border. has left Ontario with about a week’s supply of critical protective equipment.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the flow of medical equipment benefited both countries and needed to be continued.
State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had spoken with the Canadian foreign minister about it and “reiterated the United States’ desire to work with Canada to ensure the continuation of international supply chains for medical supplies and personnel. the important one. , while also meeting the needs of the regions with the most severe outbreaks. “
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has noted that Canada supplies the United States with plenty of supplies for the medical sector, including pulp for surgical grade N95 masks, test kits and gloves. Canadian nurses also work in the U.S.
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