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3M makes deal with White House, says Canada will continue to receive N95 masks

Trump declares end to his spat with Minnesota-based company

April 6, 2020
The Canadian Press

U.S. President Donald Trump has made peace with 3M in Minnesota. (@realDonaldTrump/Twitter)

By James McCarten

WASHINGTON — One of America’s largest manufacturers of medical face masks rode to Canada’s rescue Monday, forging an agreement with the White House that allows it to provide millions of its precious N95 respirators to the U.S. market without sacrificing supply bound for north of the border.

Minnesota-based 3M, which has been at the centre of a clash with President Donald Trump and his administration over the company’s reluctance to abide by orders to prioritize American demand for the masks, confirmed plans to continue to fill orders in Canada and Latin America.

3M and the U.S. government “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 that emerged on the heels of Trump’s latest marathon briefing at the White House.

“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.”

During his briefing, Trump declared that his spat with the company was at an end and sang the praises of Mike Roman, the company’s chief executive, as he announced that 3M would be producing 166.5 million masks for overtaxed and under-supplied health care professionals across the U.S.

He didn’t mention, however, that those N95 masks would be coming from the company’s manufacturing facilities in China, which is how 3M said it will meet at least some of the ever-increasing American demand while still filling orders both north and south of the U.S.

“We share the same goals of providing much-needed respirators to Americans across the country and combating criminals who seek to take advantage of the current crisis,” Roman said in a statement.

“These imports will supplement the 35 million N95 respirators we currently produce per month in the United States.”