The American company 3M said on Friday that the Trump administration had asked it not to supply N95 respirators to Canada due to the coronavirus pandemic.
President Donald Trump has ordered a Minnesota company to produce and sell as many medical-grade masks as the Federal Emergency Management Agency requires. He used the Defense Production Act to expedite the distribution of masks.
“The Authority has also asked 3M to stop exporting the respirators we currently manufacture in the United States to the Canadian and Latin American markets,” said a company statement.
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The company said the move raised “humanitarian” concerns for them.
“There are, however, important humanitarian implications of the cessation of supplies of respirators for healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a key supplier of respirators,” the statement added.
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The statement also warned that limiting supply to other countries could lead to “retaliation” with similar measures.
“If that were to happen, the net number of respirators available to the United States would actually decrease. It is the opposite of what we and the administration, on behalf of the American people, are both looking for, “the company said.
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Global News has contacted the office of Minister of Health Patty Hajdu to ask about the expected impact of such a decision on the domestic supply of respirators, but has yet to receive a response.
3M CEO Mike Roman said earlier this week that the company is working closely with FEMA and is poised to double global production of N95 masks to 2 billion a year in 12 months.
Roman said 3M would increase production by 40% to 50 million masks a month in about 60 days.
With files from the Associated Press
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