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3M pushes back against Trump's order to stop selling N95 masks to Canada

3M says President Trump's order to halt mask exports to Canada has "significant humanitarian implications," according to a press release on the company's website early Friday morning.

The Minnesota-based company pushed back against Trump's orders to prioritize manufacturing N95 respirators for the United States under the Defense Production Act, which the President implemented on Thursday night.

3M said they were willing to work alongside the Administration to increase the amount of respirators they currently import from their overseas operations — such as 3M China — into the U.S.

However, the company made it clear that they opposed Trump's order to cease exporting respirators to Canada and Latin America, where they are "a critical supplier of respirators."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed 3M's words during his press conference at Rideau Cottage on Friday morning, saying that it would be a "mistake" for the U.S. to block 3M from selling masks in Canada.

Although Trudeau didn't comment on whether Canada would stop mask exports to the U.S. if the situation continued, he did point out that the U.S. relies on healthcare workers that live in Canada — and that trade flows both ways.

3M Canada — based in London, Ontario — also weighed in, saying in a brief statement that they are aware of the issues.

"We are currently reviewing the specific details of the executive memorandum and looking at every possible way to meet domestic needs for Canada," the company said.

"We will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available."

3M produces approximately one billion N95 respirators around the world each year, and it plans to increase that capacity to two billion by the end of 2020.

3M Canada doubled the amount of N95 respirators brought into the country during the first three months of 2020. 

"We are doing all we can to continue to increase the supply of N95 respirators in Canada," the company said on March 26.

Lead photo by

Gerard Stolk

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