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US News Germany accuses US of face mask piracy

04:45  05 april  2020
04:45  05 april  2020 Source:   ft.com

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The US has been accused of redirecting 200,000 Germany -bound masks for its own use, in a move condemned as "modern piracy ". The local government in Berlin said the shipment of US -made masks was "confiscated" in Bangkok. The FFP2 masks , which were ordered by Berlin's police force, did not

Protective face masks destined for Berlin have been allegedly intercepted at a Thailand airport and diverted instead to the US , leading German officials to accuse Donald Trump of 'modern day piracy '.

  Germany accuses US of face mask piracy © Provided by The Financial Times

German officials have accused the US of “modern piracy” after a consignment of masks on its way to the Berlin police was intercepted in Thailand and diverted to the US.

There was much confusion surrounding the circumstances of the incident and the Berlin government said in a statement on Saturday that it was still trying to clarify the details.

Initial German press reports said the masks were ordered from the US manufacturer 3M, which has come under criticism from the White House for producing face masks for overseas customers.

The company later disputed those accounts, saying it had “no record of any order of respirators from China for the Berlin police”.

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200,000 face masks ordered by Germany seized at an airport in Bangkok following 'wild west' intervention by US authorities. A senior German politician on Friday accused the Trump administration of “modern piracy ” after nearly 200,000 face masks ordered by Germany were seized

200,000 face masks ordered by Germany seized at an airport in Bangkok following 'wild west' intervention by US authorities - Anadolu Agency. A senior German politician on Friday accused the Trump administration of “modern piracy ” after nearly 200,000 face masks ordered by Germany were

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The interior ministry of the state of Berlin later clarified that the police had not ordered the 400,00 FFP2 protective masks from 3M but from a “German company dealing in specialised medical products”.

Martin Pallgen, spokesman for the interior ministry, told the dpa news agency that the German company had informed the police that the first half of the order, consisting of 200,000 masks, had been “confiscated” in Bangkok and diverted to the US. He said the authorities were still trying to clarify who made the masks and where.

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Germany accuses the US of 'modern day piracy ' for seizing a shipment of medical equipment - as French officials claim they were forced to fight with American buyers for millions of masks on a Chinese tarmac. The United States allegedly 'confiscated' 200,000 3M masks that Germany had ordered for

US accused of ‘ piracy ’ after mask shipment is diverted from Germany . Andreas Geisel, the interior minister for Berlin state , described the diversion as “an act of modern piracy ” and pressed to the German government to intervene and demand that Washington follows international trade rules.

The mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, later corroborated that report, telling Der Spiegel that the masks had been ordered for the Berlin police from a German trader.

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He then informed the police that “the delivery was cancelled due to a US directive and the plane flew to the US, rather than Germany,” he said.

Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s interior minister, described the incident on Friday as an “act of modern piracy”. “You don’t treat your transatlantic partners like that,” he said.

He added that despite the coronavirus crisis, the “methods of the wild west” should not prevail and called on the German government to “press the US to stick to international rules”.

In a tweet on Friday Mr Müller accused US president Donald Trump of “lacking solidarity” and behaving “irresponsibly”.

“It is inhuman and unacceptable,” he said.

The incident in Bangkok comes at a time when countries battling the coronavirus pandemic are rushing to secure essential protective gear from a limited pool of suppliers.

The Trump administration has targeted 3M as part of its efforts to safeguard supplies to treat its citizens infected with coronavirus.

The company this week resisted demands by White House officials to send about 10m N95 respirator masks being produced in Singapore for markets in Asia to the US, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

On Thursday Mr Trump invoked his authority under the Defense Production Act, a Korean war-era law, with regard to the N95 masks made by 3M.

That allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to use “any and all authority” to buy “the number of N95 respirators” it “determines to be appropriate” from 3M and its subsidiaries, according to the wording of the act.

In a statement on Friday night, Mr Trump said the act would help ensure that needed personal protective equipment was “kept in our country and gets to where it is needed to defeat the virus”.

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading - here is what you can and can't do. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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