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Politics White House reaches deal with 3M over mask production

01:50  07 april  2020
01:50  07 april  2020 Source:   politico.com

Trump names new Defense Production Act coordinator for coronavirus fight

  Trump names new Defense Production Act coordinator for coronavirus fight President Trump said Friday that White House trade adviser Peter Navarro would become the national Defense Production Act policy coordinator for the federal government as the administration seeks to combat the coronavirus pandemic.Trump made the announcement at an afternoon press conference at the White House, saying he gave Navarro the new authorities when he signed an executive order earlier that day."My order establishes that Peter will serve as national Defense Production Act policy coordinator for the federal government," Trump told reporters.Navarro has been one of the driving forces behind Trump's protectionist trade agenda.

The White House and 3 M had sparred in recent days over accusations the mask -maker was prioritizing sales to other countries. Last week, the Trump administration requested 3 M stop exporting mask supplies to Canada and Latin American markets, an action that 3 M cautioned would result in

Health care manufacturer 3 M has resisted pressure from the White House to import about 10 million N95 respirator masks from the company’s hub in Singapore originally destined for Asian countries, in part due to concern for health care workers in those countries, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

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President Donald Trump on Monday said that 3M would produce 166.5 million masks over the next three months, cementing a commitment from a company the administration had blamed for exacerbating a shortage for health workers responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have reached an agreement, a very amicable agreement, with 3M,” Trump announced. “The 3M saga ends very happily.”

Coronavirus: Melania Trump encourages the wearing of the mask

 Coronavirus: Melania Trump encourages the wearing of the mask In a video, Melania Trump calls for the wearing of the mask outside to stem the spread of the Covid-19. © Twitter @FLOTUS Melania Trump Mask in hand, text near the camera, Melania Trump encourages people to wear a mask. The First Lady released a video on Thursday calling on Americans to "wear a face mask in public places where social distancing may be difficult to enforce", such as "grocery stores or pharmacies": "No remember, this does not replace the importance of social distancing.

“This will go a long way toward solving the mask issue if not solve it completely,” said one official involved in the negotiations. The new 3M masks are overwhelmingly N95 and KN95 masks and will go toward frontline workers, the official said.

The White House and 3M had sparred in recent days over accusations the mask-maker was prioritizing sales to other countries. Trump invoked the Defense Production Act on Thursday in an effort to ramp 3M’s production.

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“We're very disappointed in 3M,” Trump complained on Saturday. “They should be taking care of our country. And they can sell to others, but they should be taking care of our country.”

Last week, the Trump administration requested 3M stop exporting mask supplies to Canada and Latin American markets, an action that 3M cautioned would result in retaliatory measures by other countries.

“If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease,” 3M said in a statement last week. “That is the opposite of what we and the Administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek.”

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during Monday's daily briefiing. © Alex Brandon/AP Photo President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during Monday's daily briefiing.

Coronavirus: Melania Trump encourages the wearing of the mask .
In a video, Melania Trump calls for the wearing of the mask outside to stem the spread of the Covid-19. © Twitter @FLOTUS Melania Trump Mask in hand, text near the camera, Melania Trump encourages people to wear a mask. The First Lady released a video on Thursday calling on Americans to "wear a face mask in public places where social distancing may be difficult to enforce", such as "grocery stores or pharmacies": "No remember, this does not replace the importance of social distancing.

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