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Trudeau calls US stop on medical supplies ‘mistake’

Canada-US trade goes both ways, says Canada prime minister

Barry Ellsworth   | 03.04.2020
Trudeau calls US stop on medical supplies ‘mistake’

TRENTON, Canada 

It would be a “mistake” for the United States to stop masks badly needed by health care professionals from coming into Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Trudeau was reacting to the Trump administration order to 3M to stop exporting the essential supplies to Canada.

He noted that thousands of Canadian nurses cross the border from Windsor, Ontario into Detroit to work at American hospitals. Goods and services are a two-way street between Canada and the U.S.

“The U.S. also receives essential supplies and products and indeed health care professionals from Canada every single day,” Trudeau said. “It would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce the amount of back and forth.”

He said the two governments were in discussions on the ban.

The 3M company has misgivings about Trump’s order, which went into effect three hours after the president invoked the Defense Production Act which means America gets priority on essential materials. The order also forbade the export of respirators.

“The (Trump) Administration also requested that 3M cease exporting respirators that we currently manufacture in the United States to the Canadian and Latin American markets,” read a press release from the company. “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 company went on to warn that other countries might retaliate.

"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. That is the opposite of what we and the Administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek."

At his Friday press conference, Trudeau also announced the establishment of a $100 million fund for food banks. The government has also signed a contract with Amazon Canada to deliver essential medical supplies across the country.

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