Mexico closes US-owned factory for allegedly refusing to sell ventilators to Mexican hospitals

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TIJUANA, MEXICO –
The border state of Baja California North of Mexico shut down a factory run by Anglo-American healthcare company Smiths Medical on Friday for allegedly refusing to sell ventilators to Mexican hospitals.

Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla said the company has refused to sell some of the machines in Mexico, which are absolutely necessary to treat patients with coronavirus.

Bonilla said the company continued to operate its assembly plant on the pretext that it was providing an “essential” service, while most non-essential factories were closed to fight the pandemic.

But Bonilla ordered the Smiths Medical plant shut down because he argued that it does not provide essential services to Mexicans and therefore does not comply with health emergency measures.

“We told them if you want us to consider you essential, you have to provide an advantage to the people of Baja California by selling us respirators because we need them,” said Bonilla. “They said” no, we’re not going to sell you anything, we’re just going to keep using your work. ” “

Bonilla accused the company of contacting the Mexican foreign secretary and the US ambassador to try to reverse the closure order. But he vowed not to give in to the pressure.

The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Industry sources have argued that the plant is an export-only plant that operates under special rules that allow it to import raw materials and parts duty-free, provided they are re-exported and not sold on the local market.

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company is owned by Smiths Group plc, based in the United Kingdom.

Mexico now has 3,844 cases of new coronavirus, with 233 deaths in the country.

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