Prime Minister of Canada says he will not retaliate against the United States over a block of mask exports

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he will not retaliate against US President Donald Trump who will block 3M Co’s (MMM.N) exports of N95 respiratory masks that protect doctors and nurses from the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau speaks at a press conference at Rideau Cottage as efforts continue to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ottawa, Ontario, on March 29, 2020. REUTERS / Blair Gable

Trudeau said on Saturday that he expects to speak with Trump in the coming days and that Canadian officials are having “very constructive” discussions with the US administration.

“We are not looking for retaliatory or punitive measures,” he said in his daily speech in Ottawa. “We know it is in our two interests to work collaboratively and cooperatively to keep our citizens safe.

“It’s very good the content of our conversations and I’m sure we’ll get there.” “

Trump has asked 3M to increase imports of masks into the United States from other global manufacturing facilities, while demanding a pause in exports of Canadian-made respirators to Canada and some Latin American countries.

Trudeau said an air shipment of millions of masks is expected to arrive in Canada within the next 48 hours. Canada is also increasing domestic production of personal protective equipment, he said.

Some Canadian health care professionals living along the American border work in American hospitals, and Trudeau said that Canada was doing nothing to end the practice.

Coronavirus cases reported in Canada have reached 12,924, up 10% from the last day, and 214 deaths, health officials said.

Trudeau defended Canada’s coronavirus testing program, saying he had done more than the United States. Initial tests in the western provinces of British Columbia and Alberta have been “very effective” in managing the spread of the coronavirus, said Trudeau.

More than half of Canadian cases are in the most populous provinces of Quebec and Ontario. On Friday, Ontario predicted 80,000 cases of coronavirus and 1,600 deaths in the province by the end of the month under current public health measures.

Rod Nickel report to Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Alistair Bell

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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