US kills record high, Pelosi wants more economic relief
President Trump said on Friday he was using the Defense Production Act to stop the export of “rare health and medical products by unscrupulous actors and profiteers” as a major manufacturer of respirators put warns against “significant humanitarian implications”.
Federal officials will work to prevent the export of N95 respirators, surgical masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment, Trump said during the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Friday.
“We need these items immediately for home use,” Trump said. “We have to have them.”
The president pointed to previous efforts to use the Defense Production Act to “stop hoarding and rising prices of essential supplies.” This week, he said, federal officials took custody of nearly 200,000 N95 respirators, 130,000 surgical masks, 600,000 gloves and other items.
3M company mentionned in a statement Friday that the Trump administration’s demand to stop exporting US-made respirators to Canadian and Latin American markets would have “significant humanitarian implications.” 3M said it was a “critical supplier of respirators” for healthcare workers there.
“In addition, stopping all exports of respirators produced in the United States would likely prompt other countries to fight back and do the same, as some have already done,” 3M said in its statement. “If that were to happen, the net number of respirators made available to the United States would actually decrease. It is the opposite of what we and the administration, on behalf of the American people, are both seeking.
3M added that it continued to “act on reports of price gouging and unauthorized resale”.
During Friday’s briefing, Trump expressed his displeasure with 3M and insisted, when asked about the potential negative effect on imports, that the United States was “very well supplied.”