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Trump, 3M clash over order to produce more face masks for US

President Donald Trump's clash with 3M comes weeks after Vice President Mike Pence visited the company. President Donald Trump's clash with 3M comes weeks after Vice President Mike Pence visited the company. |  Photo: ABC News, file

from Associated Press reports
Updated: April 04, 2020 08:25 AM

President Donald Trump says his administration will try to stop "profiteers" from exporting medical protective gear, shortly after getting into a fight with Minnesota-based manufacturing giant 3M, a major producer and exporter of face masks used to protect health care workers from the coronavirus.

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"We're not happy with 3M, not happy," Trump said at a news conference Friday.  "And the people that dealt with it directly are not at all happy with 3M. So we'll see whether or not we do. I heard what he had to say today. I don't know the gentleman, but we're not happy with 3M."

3M said Friday the Trump administration has requested 3M cease exporting respirators that they currently manufacture in the U.S. to Canada and Latin America. Nearly all of 3M's exports of high-grade N95 masks go to those areas.

The company says there are significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to health care workers in Canada and Latin America, where 3M is a critical supplier of respirators.

3M argued that blocking exports will raise "significant humanitarian implications" abroad and lead other countries to retaliate by withholding much-needed medical supplies from the U.S.

Canadian officials led by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau took the company's side. They lobbied Trump administration officials not to cut off part of their supply.

In remarks outside of his residence in Ottawa Friday, Trudeau said he's been working to make clear to the Trump administration that "the level of integration between our economies goes both ways across the border."

He said while Canada does receive essential supplies, like respirators, from the United States, the U.S "also receives essential supplies and products and indeed health care professionals from Canada every single day."

The prime minister says he is confident that the close and deep relationship between Canada and the U.S. will hold strong and that will not have to see interruptions in supply chains in either direction.

Credits

from Associated Press reports

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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