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3M,US Make Deal;Will Send Canada Masks 04/07 06:09

   TORONTO (AP) -- Manufacturing giant 3M said Monday it has an agreement with 
the Trump administration that will allow the company to continue to export N95 
protective masks to Canada and Latin America amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

   The company said the U.S. government and 3M have a plan to produce 166.5 
million masks over the next three months to support healthcare workers in the 
United States. They will primarily come from its manufacturing facility in 
China. 

   President Donald Trump had used his authority under the 1950 Defense 
Production Act to stop exporting such masks, also known as respirators. The 
move to block such masks, which are crucial in protecting healthcare workers on 
both sides of the border from the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, outraged 
many officials in Canada.

   "3M and the Administration worked together to ensure that this plan does not 
create further humanitarian implications for countries currently fighting the 
COVID-19 outbreak," the company said in a statement. "The plan will also enable 
3M to continue sending U.S. produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, 
where 3M is the primary source of supply."

   3M issued a statement last week saying that could have "significant 
humanitarian implications" for healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America. 
The company had said possible retaliation by other nations could actually lead 
to fewer of the masks being available in the U.S.

   The premier of Canada's most populous province, Ontario, said earlier Monday 
that U.S. officials had stopped 3 million masks from getting to Ontario from 
3M, though he said was told that 500,000 of them were being released Monday. 

   Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that he was hopeful Canada would get an 
exemption and that he felt better about that after speaking with U.S. Trade 
Representative Robert Lighthizer. 

   "It is absolutely critical that they except Canada from this presidential 
order," Ford said. 

   Ford said delays in global shipments and recent restrictions at the U.S. 
border had left Ontario with about a one-week supply of critical protective 
equipment.

   Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the flow of medical 
equipment benefits both countries and needs to continue.

   State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that U.S. 
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had spoken to Canada's foreign minister about it 
and "reiterated the United States' desire to work with Canada to ensure the 
viability of international supply chains for crucial medical supplies and 
personnel, while also meeting the needs of regions with the most severe 
outbreaks."

   Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has noted Canada supplies the U.S. 
with many supplies for the medical sector, including pulp for surgical-grade 
N95 masks, test kits and gloves. Canadian nurses also work in the U.S.


(KR)

 
 
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