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Trump orders 3M to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

But company pushing back on order from White House

April 3, 2020
The Canadian Press

U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered 3M to stop shipping N95 masks to Canada and Latin America. (chaphot/Adobe Stock)

WASHINGTON — One of the world’s largest U.S.-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.

Minnesota-based 3M says the Trump administration has asked that it stop sending N95 respirators to export markets in Canada and Latin America.

But the company, which calls itself a critical supplier of the masks to both markets, says there would be “significant humanitarian implications” to doing so.

“In addition, ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same, as some have already done,” 3M said in a statement Friday.

“If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease. That is the opposite of what we and the administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek.”

The company was singled out for criticism Thursday by President Donald Trump, who has invoked the U.S.’s Defense Production Act to compel 3M to prioritize orders from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for masks to help meet soaring American demand.

“We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks,” Trump tweeted. “’P Act’ all the way. Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing — will have a big price to pay!”

Demand for so-called personal protective equipment — gloves, gowns, face shields and the all-important N95 masks — has been soaring around the world as overtaxed doctors, nurses and hospitals struggle to manage the spike in COVID-19 cases while protecting themselves from infection.

And now that the Centers for Disease Control and others in the health community have started recommending everyone wear some sort of face covering while out in public, the scarcity of medical-grade masks is sure to get even worse.

“Over the last several days, we had some issues making sure that all of the production that 3M does around the world, enough of it is coming back here to the right places,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Thursday.

“So what’s going to happen, the signing of that order in ‘Trump time,’ is we’re going to resolve that issue with 3M probably by tomorrow close of business because we can’t afford to lose days or hours, even minutes in this crisis.”

3M says it has already “gone above and beyond” to maximize production of the masks for the U.S. market, and was doing so long before the Defense Production Act was invoked.

“We appreciate the authorities in the DPA that provide a framework for us to expand even further the work we are doing in response to the global pandemic crisis,” the company said.

“We will continue to maximize the amount of respirators we can produce on behalf of U.S. health care workers, as we have every single day since this crisis began.”

This story has been updated.


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35 Comments » for Trump orders 3M to stop sending N95 masks to Canada
  1. John says:

    I am Canadian and what goes around comes around! That man has virtually destroyed everything that people and foreign governments worked hard to achieve now you have no allies and a reputation of screwing your friends while sucking up to your enemies.
    Right now you have a leader that has no idea what he is doing and who is not capable of showing compassion and empathy towards the people he is sworn to protect.
    Good luck!!

    • Allie says:

      Well said!

    • Brenda Cawston says:

      we should keep the borders closed on them and stop being their allies and give them zero resources

    • TJ Takhar says:

      Excellently put. Trump has no idea what he is doing. He is delusional. He knows nothing about diplomacy or honesty.

    • TJ Takhar says:

      Get your head out of your a**. It’s very clear what he is doing and even goes as far as threatening 3M. You must be a American Trump supporter. Sure glad the rest of America doesn’t think with their heads up their ass.

  2. Cheryl l Forbes says:

    3M North America has in their Creedo to send part of their manufacturing as humanitarian aid to other countries.
    So if 3M Canada refuses to send Masks to USA in retaliation, the states ends up with less masks overall.

    • Sarah Stanley says:

      This is not about 3M Canada refusing to send masks to the US, Cheryl. This is about trump ordering 3M NOT to send masks anywhere other than the US and for them to cancel the shipments of all foreign orders. Reading comprehension is important.

  3. mike johnson says:

    thers a lot going on behind the scenes that we do not know about.he is not sworn to protect canada.this is one reason i hate reading articles because you dont get the whole story

    • TJ Takhar says:

      Get your head out of your a**. It’s very clear what he is doing and even goes as far as threatening 3M. You must be a American Trump supporter. Sure glad the rest of America doesn’t think with their heads up their ass.

    • Micheal says:

      You do realize Canada supplies the US with the medical grade pulp material to make those masks? If we stop shipping you the material you will be out of masks. I would support that blockade 100%

    • GB Bari says:

      Correct. It’s quite obvious that many of those commenting here are full of CBC Leftwing propaganda which always denigrates President Trump regardless of the facts. The U.S. Dementocrat-biased lame stream media is not any better. Our President is performing 100% as he should – first and foremost in the best interests of the United States.
      The attempts by 3M and others to obfuscate the problem is classic. There is a net shortage of masks in the U.S. and as such there is zero excuse for 3M or any U.S. based manufacturer to be sending U.S.-produced masks anywhere other than to U.S. customers until the shortage is abated.

  4. Ray says:

    Normally I am on Trumps side, but this is a bit despicable. I hope we cut off sending critical need goods to the US until Trump corrects, and apologizes for this mistake.

    • Bix says:

      There is nothing NORMAL about being on Trumps side.

    • Ingrid says:

      I share your hope. There are many despicable things about Trump.

    • TJ Takhar says:

      trump is a clown. He has dementia and doesn’t even know what he is doing. If you support a delusional, racist self centered embarrassment like trump, you need to give your pea brained head a violent shake aswell.

  5. Let’s not get caught up in the politics! I know our family is half in Canada, the other half in the United States. Let the politicians figure this out, and pray that all our families get through this unbelievable pandemic. Let’s abide by the rules, isolate! We need to be united as always, we are all very stressed out with having to isolate, figure out how to ensure ours families are fed, have their medication and a roof over their head! Remember above all, we are a compassionate and caring people looking out for one another, in tough times there is no such thing as “ME” it’s “WE”! We will get through this!

  6. anne says:

    trump is shameful and i wish he would step on his tail and step down, so the the uss titanic can be turned around.. we are all in this together , as world citizens.. an idiot who thinks he speaks for us all is just plain tragic.. mother nature is speaking and giving us alot of messages to get our act together as a whole human race to take care of each other, and our planet. we better listen, and do the positive actions fix the problems humans have created, for future generations begfore its too late.

    • Brenda Cawston says:

      iM canadia and love I mean loved the us. but this angers us Canadians so much I hope he keeps our borders closed permanently. and the us should not be able to have access to any of our vast resources…allies? ya right. go away. we don’t need you and don’t you dare touch our resources. that should be cut off too..

  7. Robin VanOstrand says:

    @Bix Thank you. One of the only intelligent things I have heard in a long time

  8. WISHIE MCISAAC says:

    AlI I have to say to Trump and any other American is this. You certainly knew where to land your numerous airplanes full of your people on 9-11. Newfoundland. Canadians, by the way, took them in and treated them like gold. So you want to keep the 3M stuff for yourselves. Watch out for that damned Karma. It’ll get you.

  9. Brenda Cawston says:

    First close the borders (im Canadian and we are all getting angry at you and fed up military first at our borders…ya In bc where theres only 400 and something active cases..as if we want to jump the b0rder to your epicenter..ya right)..allies? Your sure not behaving like it….. go to hell usa (maybe trumps the beast) and you should not touch any of our resources either. we should stop that too. Stay away from our water..cancel the dams , lumber and oil. so what if we have a weak military…id rather be annihilated with a full heart fight not up to par for the fight, than be at the merdcy and supportt of a military super hero so called ally that in a global crisis is not being an ally at all and that acts like inhumane dogs.. I used to love the usa but no more. frickin inhumane egotistical /.//no comment grrr.. not fit for publishing what I now think of you.

  10. Levi Stephens says:

    Sorry Canucks, this move by the GREAT President Trump-who is loved dearly by the silent majority down here-will undoubtedly contribute to a landslide victory for him and 4 more great years for America!!!! Wow, y’all are full of so much hate!
    Come’on now, when word got out that 3M was filling orders for foreign governments before filling orders for our states, how did you think President Trump would react? 3M, who owes their existence and all their success to the US screwed-up beyond measure…Americans are very angry over this…No matter how their POS CEO spins it…
    Sorry Canada is getting the shaft on this deal, but The President had no choice on this one… face it, we have over 266,000 infected to Canada’s 12,500…
    Here is some inside information for you Canadians from America’s great silent majority: America is done bending over for the rest of the world…Bush bent over and Obama stayed bent over, even bent the knee to a petty dictator-what a disgrace!… Oh and the majority of folks south of the border think your PM is a punk BTW…bet he misses Obama-worst president in US history! Thank God for Donald J Trump!
    Can’t blame y’all for and bitching and moaning about America… I mean when was the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup? 1993? Wow, isn’t hockey your national sport? I can see why your so full of angst!
    Here is a fun-fact: Canada needs America A LOT more than America needs Canada…and everyone here knows that! Think about the protection that you have received from the US for the past 75 years-living under our umbrella that has allowed your country to prosper… Oh and you can bet that we will be their to save your a$$es-again-when the Chinese come knocking…
    Hey sounds like most of you here are globalists, how about hitting-up those globalist Chinese for some masks… You know the creators of the “Chinese Virus” that has practically destroyed the world as we know it…
    Well gotta run, here is a tip for some of you: Better stock-up on Xanex (China sells that too) President Trump is gonna be around a long-looooonnngg time! MAGA baby!

    • Rachel Ramirez says:

      Levi Stephens, very well said!! I’m reading these comments and I’m thinking WTF? Did these people and other countries think Trump should take this lying down and look the other way? I DON’T THINK SO!!! Shame on the 3M !!! Despicable behavior!!! Putting others first before the country they owe EVERYTHING to??!!??!!
      To those that said” we shouldn’t be their allies”…..really??? lol

    • Kat says:

      Your opinion makes me sad. Don’t blame Canadians for having the most corrupt, selfish leader in Canadian history. Trump doesn’t trust Trudeau, because he sent all of Canadian medical supplies to China, in February. That’s his m.o. Helping foreign nations first. Trump knows it. For good measure, majority of Canadians didn’t vote for this freak show in the last election, hence, his minority gov. Not sure where hockey comes in….but there are far more teams in the US, with lots of Canadian players on American teams. If you’re going to talk protection…where was the US in 1939, beginning of WWII when Canada and British allies were fighting Germany? Oh…sounds like you’re not familiar with the “Canadian Caper”, a joint covert rescue by the Canadian government and the CIA of six American diplomats who had evaded capture during the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979. Without Canada, that operation wouldn’t have been successful…but who’s keeping score???? Just a couple of facts. Do with it what you will.

      We’re not globalists. Nationalists….populists! Our roots! Far from being globalist, socialist citizens. Everything you said about Americans is exactly how Canadians feel. Majority of us would LOVE Trump to be our leader. We look at Trudeau the way you look at Obama, but worse.

      This is about Canadians….or Canada. Your hatred should be directed at Trudeau. He did this. For what it’s worth, our country is on the brink of collapse. He’s spending billions on other countries, while carbon taxing our a**es off. He’s against small businesses and middle class. Allowing refugees from the US to cross over (Roxham Road) without being vetted is his baby…hoping the economy will collapse because of the influx; losing our borders and our nation to….GLOBALISM, is his dream! Who ever said our country wanted this??? Arrogance is unbecoming. Always strength in numbers. God bless Canada and the US!

    • Steve says:

      Here’s a penny for your thoughts. Without CANADIAN materials you wouldn’t be able to make AMERICAN N95’s. We are working a lot more closely with your providers than you think. Another thing. 3M is already working on overload to produce your american N95’s because your president didn’t acknowledge COVID-19 as a threat originally. Because of that and how you all can’t social distance from each other (Ya we saw your overcrowded beaches during this pandemic) your government needs more masks produced. Hence the overworking of our people for your government as well as our own government. 3M is making physically more product for america than any other foreign country on order. While statistically trying to keep everything balanced for everyone else as well. We should be thanking our canadian suppliers as well as your american providers for working so hard you fool. Notice how i kept everything related to our current pandemic rather than bouncing from sports to wars etc. etc?

      P.s The reason Canada sent medical supplies to china was to try to PREVENT this outbreak and reduce the spread of it in the first place. We didn’t see anyone else trying to do the same and now look what happened…

  11. Michael says:

    As canadians we have always been taught to share our resources with people in need. Let’s not start acting like Trump. 3m will defend there decision to continue to supply Canada with needed PPF951K DEVICES. I spend winter in Florida and have many really good friends there of which none approve of this man. He will get what’s comming in the near future.. Stay calm and stay safe. Self isolate properly and we will get through this first.

  12. Doug says:

    We need to start using the # tags
    #selfishUS #selfishTrump #UShoardingN95

  13. Winslo says:

    Did you expect anything different from them. When Canadians and the rest of the world were fighting the Nazis they stayed out until it threatened their interest.

    • Levi Stephens says:

      Hey Winslo! You make me laugh! Without America you Canadians would be speaking German or Russian right now….Hahaha! #pickupahistorybook; #quitbeingasnowflake; #keeptheborderclosed; #MAGA!!!

      • Kat says:

        Revisit and re-educated yourself. Germans beat the Russians. Canada was still battling in Normandy when the war was over. Americans were with civilians, celebrating the end of the war….acting as if they were the heroes. Canada didn’t run on the 11th hour, 11th day, 11th month. They fought until Germans fully surrendered…to Canada. Speaking Russian or German? Not even close.

  14. Sarelle says:

    Canadian pulp workers have put themselves at risk during this pandemic to increase production and supply US companies with the raw material to make medical masks and other PPE supplies. They have done so with the expectation that some of the end products would be returned to Canada. So Canadians are contributing to saving American lives, yet this work is going unrecognized. Canadians especially those working at Harmac in BC have a right to be angry.

  15. Kat says:

    I think we can blame Trudeau for this. He’s known to hand out everything to other countries….leaving Canada in a crisis. What belongs to Canada, is being distributed outside of Canada. How about Canada shipping OUR MEDICAL SUPPLIES to China, leaving our own medical health front liners at serious risk! Trump no doubt believes Trudeau will take these masks and have them shipped out of Canada to say…China. Trump is watching Trudeau, closely. It’s not fair to Canadians…but again, Trudeau’s not making it easy for the US to be ‘humanitarian’ to a country with a corrupt leader.

  16. Susan says:

    Make no mistake, all countries are at war against this COVID19 virus. Trump’s 3M export ban is completely in keeping with a “war mindset” of survival in crisis. Canadians leaders would do better to focus our own efforts on implementing the federal government’s Peace Order and Good Government (“POGG”) powers under the Constitution to force large companies like Magna to retool and produce the urgent medical supplies we need. We need to stop blaming Americans for our own supply deficiencies in and start asking why our own government has allowed us to become so dependent on others for critical supplies. We survived SARS. We had a long time to re-think our PPE supply chain. It seems at this point, our efforts are better spent demanding more of our own government.

  17. Jason says:

    Thank you OHS Magazine for wading into political waters. You have posted a half-story, out of context. Is this what passes for journalism these days?

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