The fight over masks between Canada and the United States appears to have ended. Canada will receive 3M's N95 masks after the company reached an agreement with the president. However, obtaining medical supplies anywhere remains a challenge.
In an April 6 news release, 3M announced that it would be importing 166.5 million respirators to the U.S. from its manufacturing facility in China.
The company said that this will allow them to continue providing the much-needed equipment to Canada and Latin America.
They currently produce about 35 million masks per month in the United States. They plan to increase their output to 50 million a month in the U.S., and 2 billion worldwide over the next 12 months.
"We’ll continue to do all we can to protect our heroic healthcare workers and first responders," 3M chairman and CEO Mike Roman stated in the release.
"I want to thank our 96,000 3Mers for your tireless efforts – including those in our plants and distribution centers around the world."
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland highlighted how difficult it is to obtain medical supplies right now, comparing the situation to the "wild west."
"This is a global pandemic and every country in the world is doing its best in a truly fierce competition to get medical equipment," Freeland said, according to the Globe and Mail.
Freeland said it has been very difficult to obtain protective equipment as countries "fiercely" compete for critic… https://t.co/0ITwkmFv7h— Tony/Pepperoni (@Tony/Pepperoni)1586197881.0
President Donald Trump had previously invoked the Defense Production Act in order to keep the company from sending any supplies to Canada, a move that drew a stern warning from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
3M pushes back against Trump request to halt exports of protective face masks, citing humanitarian concerns https://t.co/jzhsN0VLdW— Bloomberg (@Bloomberg)1585931981.0
"It would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce the amount of back and forth trade of essential goods and services, including medical goods, across our border," Trudeau said on April 3, "That's the point we're making very clearly to the American administration right now."
3M had also expressed disappointment in the original decision in an April 3 press release.
The company stated that there would be "significant humanitarian implications" to denying the export of N95 respirators to Canada and Latin America.