Medical supply shortage spurs global scramble for materials

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One of the world's largest US -based makers of consumer products says it has been told by the White House to stop exporting medical-grade face masks to the Canadian market.

Trump had earlier resorted to invoking a 1950 war act to require companies to prioritise medical equipment orders for the federal government during a public fight with a United States manufacturing company.

In a statement issued Friday morning, the company says its employees have gone "above and beyond" to manufacture as many N95 respirators as possible for the United States market.

"We know that it is in both of our interests to continue to work collaboratively and corporately to keep our citizens safe", he said.

US based manufacturer 3M say they're under pressure from the White House to stop exporting some critical medical equipment to Canada and Latin America. "That's why we are working so hard to ensure that we get the right supplies to them in the right amount of time".

But it also said it would cause "significant humanitarian implications" if it stopped distributing masks in markets like Canada and Latin America, and would lead some countries to "retaliate" in kind. But he said the nation had only 35 million masks in its strategic reserves.

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".

"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 if we see an interruption of essential goods and services flow back and forth across the border".

Trudeau highlighted Canada's role in the exchange of goods by mentioning the Canadian medical professionals who cross the border for work and the shipments of supplies, such as gloves and testing kits, which are sent to the U.S. He also said much of the materials used to make the masks originate in Canada.

The Minnesota-based 3M faced fury from people who accused the company - and its distributors - of ignoring United States needs and selling masks overseas to the highest bidder.

"We're one big family, but they've cut out one part of the family now - It's not right and absolutely I'd be all over government in the USA and show them how important our relationship is".

3M has a $172 million contract to supply N95 masks to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford asked Health Canada Saturday to expedite the approval process that would allow local companies to start producing the necessary supplies.



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