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article image3M balks at Trump order to stop exporting N95 masks to Canada

By Karen Graham     Apr 3, 2020 in Politics
Manufacturing giant 3M pushed backed against President Trump in a statement on Friday that suggested it would not comply with a White House order to stop exporting N95 facemasks to Canada and Latin America.
"The Administration also requested that 3M cease exporting respirators that we currently manufacture in the United States to the Canadian and Latin American markets. There are, however, significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a critical supplier of respirators," 3M said in a statement released Friday.
The statement came just one day after President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act requiring 3M to prioritize the production of N95 facemasks to fight the spread of COVID-19.
"We anticipate issuing more orders under the Defense Protection Act in the very near future, in addition to the one that I just signed against 3M for face masks," said Trump on Thursday evening, reports CTV News Canada.
Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in Canada as of April 2  2020  by province or territory
Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in Canada as of April 2, 2020, by province or territory
Canada Responds forcefully
Ontario health officials are projecting 80,000 coronavirus cases and 1,600 deaths in the province by the end of the month, based on current public health measures. Ontario already has reported 3,255 confirmed cases and 67 deaths.
As of April 2, 2020, there had been a total of 138 deaths attributed to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canada. Of the 7 provinces reporting COVID-19 deaths, Quebec and Ontario had the highest numbers.
Amidst all the worry over projected cases and deaths to come in Canada, the news that Trump wanted 3M to stop exporting N95 masks did not sit well with Canadian officials. According to Reuters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said blocking the flow of medical supplies across the border would be a “mistake.”
Trudeau pointed out that Trump's move could backfire - saying that Canadian healthcare professionals go to the United States to work in Detroit every day. When asked if Canada would retaliate if the exports stop, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Ottawa would “do whatever it takes to defend the national interest.”
3M also pointed out on Friday that blocking exports of the N95 masks to other countries could result in retaliation by other countries that could ultimately reduce the amount of equipment available.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford got into the act, telling US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that the new order would potentially jeopardize the health of Canada’s frontline workers, he said in a tweet.
More about 3M company, N95 face masks, Covid19, Defence Production Act, Latin America and Canada
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