Decision To Ban Mask Exports

  • Decision To Ban Mask Exports

Decision To Ban Mask Exports

Manufacturing giant 3M hit back at the USA government stating that limiting exports of respirators to Canada and Latin American countries would have "significant humanitarian implications".

In response to the directive, the company cautioned there would be "significant humanitarian implications" if they were barred from delivering those supplies to people in those countries where 3M said they are a "critical supplier" of respirators.

3M said on Friday it would boost respirator production and import more masks into the United States, and it warned that blocking exports could result in retaliation by other countries that could ultimately reduce the amount of equipment available.

Friday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street", 3M's Chief Executive Mike Roman said President Donald Trump's criticism over the distribution of its masks amid the coronavirus pandemic "is just not true".

The Trump administration on Thursday had invoked the Defense Production Act, compelling 3M to prioritize orders for desperately needed N95 respiratory masks for the USA government's national stockpile.

The act, which was passed in 1950, grants the president the power to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security and other reasons.

"The administration had worked very hard to ease some rules for 3M and other respirator manufacturers because those companies, 3M chief among them, had essentially promised that they would immediately be putting 35m N95s into the USA marketplace".

"Our primary concern remains the safety of health-care workers and first responders during this crisis, and we are now reviewing the specific details of the executive memorandum and looking at every possible way to meet domestic needs for Canada", 3M Canada's president Penny Wise said in a statement.

3M said it looks forward "to working closely with the administration to implement yesterday's DPA order".

He added that the company, already producing 35 million masks monthly, decided in January that it needed to double its domestic production. "We are continuing to engage in constructive discussions with different levels within the administration to highlight that the USA will be hurting itself as much as Canada will be hurting".

Trump tweeted Thursday: "We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks".

Roman said 3M is trying to fully understand what the DPA order means: "I do know it will be focused on orders that will bring more of our worldwide production into the U.S".

"The idea that 3M is not doing all it can to fight price gouging and unauthorized reselling is absurd", Mike Roman told USA broadcaster CNBC.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he couldn't stress enough how disappointed he was in Trump for making the decision and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney didn't hold back his outrage at Trump's decision.

Without these supplies, front-line health-care workers can not be properly protected as they work to save others.

Minnesota officials are trying to assess the supply of respirator masks and other protective equipment. The US now has the most COVID-19 cases of any other country in the world. They say as that becomes clear, the allocation of the protective masks and other devices can be prioritized and optimized.

Officials in the town of Laredo, Texas said that starting on Thursday, people have to wear a mask or some form of coverage in public or they will receive a $1,000 fine.

Health officials caution against all worldwide travel.