The president said at a White House news conference he signed an “element of the act against 3M” that allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to obtain as many N95 respirators as it needs from the company. Trump tweeted Thursday evening that the company would “have a big price to pay” for its handling of the masks, without specifying the problem.
3M responded hours later with a
“We’ve been in constant discussions” with the administration, 3M Chief Executive Officer
The company pushed back against what it described as a White House request to stop exporting the products from the U.S. While 3M said it has worked to increase the number of masks imported from its overseas factories, including approval to ship 10 million respirators from China, part of its U.S. production is needed in Canada and Latin America.
There would be “significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers” in neighboring countries, 3M said in the statement. The company has ramped up production to 100 million masks a month, about 35 million of which are produced in the U.S.
3M fell 1% to $136.51 at 9:32 a.m. in New York.
Trump earlier Thursday signed an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that
Trump said in a statement the order would “more fully ensure that domestic manufacturers can produce ventilators needed to save American lives.”
Philips, a leading maker of ventilators, called Trump’s action a positive development. “We welcome any help to make the supply chain more robust,” said spokesman
The Dutch firm needs more than 650 components for the ventilators it produces in two factories in America, with more than half coming from Europe and Asia and the rest from suppliers in the U.S. Beyond hospital ventilators, Philips is also set to start delivering 10,000 portable ventilators to the U.S. later this year.
Though Trump didn’t detail his concerns with 3M, White House trade adviser
Dallas Mavericks owner
3M has previously said it hasn’t changed the prices it charges and can’t control the prices dealers or retailers charge for their products.
The president is facing mounting pressure from governors and congressional Democrats to use the Korean War-era defense law that gives him sweeping powers to force companies to produce personal protective equipment and ventilators that are in short supply. More than 236,000 people in the U.S. have contracted the virus and more than 5,600 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Health-care officials and governors have said that in some localities, people may die because there won’t be enough ventilators for the growing number of patients who need them.
New York Governor
Trump said at the White House later on Thursday that “thousands” of ventilators are in production. But he faulted states for failing to stockpile them, deflecting criticism of his administration.
“We’re not an ordering clerk, we’re a backup,” Trump said. “The states have to stock up. It’s like one of those things, they waited.”
He has expressed reluctance to use the defense law, comparing it to nationalizing industries. He has said he prefers to use threats to invoke the act as leverage to force companies to comply with demands to manufacture equipment.
The president, however, ordered
--With assistance from
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Joshua Gallu, Frank Connelly
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