Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to the news, affirming his belief that the United States and Canada will continue to work closely together to fill gaps in supply.
Being President Donald Trump cannot be easy during a public health crisis. The job of President looked hard enough for the poor man, but a deadly virus let loose on his entire kingdom - that is, country - is perhaps only making leadership even harder for him. In an attempt to ensure American citizens had enough N95 respirators, a crucial component of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the President asked US-based medical supply firm 3M to stop the sale of N95 masks to Canada, Global News reports. While this may ensure that our country has enough masks for its own population, this is likely to damage the relationship the United States shares with its neighbor Canada, whose citizens also in need of these masks.
The decision comes after President Trump invoked the Defence Production Act (DPA) in order to increase the production of N95 masks and fill gaps in national supply as ordered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "3M and its employees have gone above and beyond to manufacture as many N95 respirators as possible for the US market. Yesterday, the Administration formally invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to require 3M to prioritize orders from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for our N95 respirators," the company explained in a statement. "We have been working closely with the Administration to do exactly that, and 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 statement continued, "We have been working closely with the Administration to do exactly that, and 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." However, in line with the Act, 3M has also been asked to stop selling their products to neighbor Canada, where the number of Coronavirus cases is exponentially increasing every single day. The company shared, "The Administration also requested that 3M cease exporting respirators that we currently manufacture in the United States to the Canadian and Latin American markets."
3M was aware of the consequences that such a decision would result in. In addition to the humanitarian concerns about withholding supply from these markets, the medical supply firm was also preemptive enough to recognize that other countries would perhaps follow suit and halt the export of some of their products as well. "There are, however, significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a critical supplier of respirators," the statement continued. "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. If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease."
In response to the news, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hopes he would not have to retaliate against measures propagated by the United States government. He stated, "We are discussing very closely with the United States the importance of keeping the flow of essential goods and services across our border to help both countries. I am confident that the close and deep relationship between Canada and the US will hold strong and we will not have to see interruptions in supply chain in either directions. It would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce the amount of back and forth trade of essential goods and services, including medical goods across our border." During a global health crisis, the last thing we need to do is cut off ties with our allies, of which we have very few remaining. President Trump should have known better.