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Canada Ottawa looks to Kushner, other U.S. trade officials to resolve medical equipment dispute

20:55  04 april  2020
20:55  04 april  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday it would be a "mistake" for the U . S . to limit exports of medical supplies to Canada in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The prime minister said he remains confident that Canada will receive the equipment it needs to fight Covid-19.

Ottawa has spoken to more than 3,000 companies that have offered to contribute in various ways in the fight against COVID-19. It has so far reached formal agreements with Thornhill Medical , as well as Medicom Group and Spartan Bioscience to produce medical supplies and equipment .

a person wearing a suit and tie: White House adviser Jared Kushner speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 2 in Washington. © Alex Brandon/The Associated Press White House adviser Jared Kushner speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 2 in Washington.

The Trudeau government is looking to the relationships it established during NAFTA negotiations to resolve the urgent dispute over personal protective equipment with the United States.

According to senior sources with direct knowledge of the situation, Canadian politicians at different levels, and of different political stripes, will and have been reaching out to contacts in the U.S. to make Canada's case to keep the flow of essential goods moving.

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Other nations could retaliate against U . S ., trade experts warn. Donald Trump speaks during a news The U . S . is not the first country to do so. China limited exports of protective equipment for a time Some French officials are blaming unidentified Americans for swooping in to outbid them as they try

Kushner ' s defenders say ethical measures are being taken and point out he' s helped bridge the gap in needed medical supplies. He described making a series of calls to officials and said the result was the administration would 'send a month of supply.' 'We'll be doing similar things with all the different

At the core of this push, sources say, is the prime minister's chief of staff, Katie Telford, who is trying to leverage her relationship with the president's son-in-law and special advisor Jared Kushner. 

The overtures come after U.S. President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to force Minnesota-based 3M to prioritize orders from the U.S. government for N95 respirators, at the expense of foreign orders. The protective masks are used by front-line health care workers battling the novel coronavirus.

During NAFTA negotiations, Telford developed a close working relationship with Kushner, to the point that they often exchange text messages.

In the U.S., Kushner has been criticized after he was assigned key responsibilities within the White House coronavirus task force. 

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Are there other mechanisms to resolve disputes ? Individual trade deals have also created separate state-state arbitration mechanisms. Canada insisted on its inclusion in CUSFTA because of what it saw as a long history of unfair U . S . trade policies. Ottawa has relied upon the chapter’ s independent

That was White House senior advisor Jared Kushner during Thursday night’ s coronavirus task force briefing, in response to being asked about states that have reported shortages of medical supplies such as face masks and gloves during the COVID-19 outbreak. He continued, “When you have governors

Despite having zero experience in public health policy, and no experience with military operations, Kushner is helping with the marshalling of resources. 

Kushner connection could benefit Ottawa

One source tells CBC News, the Canadians see the Kushner connection as one that can be used to Ottawa's advantage. 

A second source says this is about the health and safety of Canadians, so all key relationships that have been developed over the years to resolve this are being ultiized.

That second source says Canada's new ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, is a main point of contact right now with the Trump administration, as is Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. 

Katie Telford holding a laptop: Katie Telford, chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, arrives at a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. © Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press Katie Telford, chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, arrives at a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.

Kushner played a key role in finalizing NAFTA negotiations with both Mexico and Canada, as he is reported to have influence with President Trump in ways that other members of the administration do not.

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The global count has passed 700,000, an official warns Britain that some kind of lockdown may last for months and Joe Biden urges mail-in elections. 200,000 Americans could die even if the U . S . takes aggressive action, Fauci says. Trump extends the federal government’ s social-distancing guidelines

Without the panels, these trade disputes would be resolved in U . S . courts Ottawa will also look to have chapters covering women' s participation in the work force and Indigenous people written into the deal. Talks to resolve this long-running dispute have been unfolding separately from the NAFTA

The White House is standing by Kushner, after he questioned how some U.S. governors and mayors are handling the crisis, and claimed that the national stockpile of emergency medical equipment is not for use by states.

During Thursday's coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, Kushner said "the notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile."

"It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use."

However, a U.S. federal government website clearly stated that in fact, the equipment is meant to supplement supplies for individual states. 

Within 24 hours, the language on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website was changed to reflect what Kushner had said. 

Team Canada Strategy

Ontario Premier Doug Ford reached out to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to express his frustration with the White House over its request that medical equipment manufactured in the U.S. not be exported to Canada. 

Ford played a similar role during NAFTA negotiations, developing relationships with key members of the Trump administration, including former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday, he expects to have a phone call with President Trump.

In the meantime, members of cabinet and other Canadian leaders are being asked to reach out to U.S. connections to ensure Canada's point is made. 

A fetish shop donates medical suits to a British hospital .
© DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS In England too, healthcare workers have been denouncing for several days a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) available for carers on the front line to treat patients of the Covid-19 A British site selling fetish outfits and accessories announced that it had given its stock of medical overalls to the carers of a hospital, "desperate" faced with the lack of equipment to protect themselves from the new coronavirus.

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