President Donald Trump on April 6 announced the White House has “reached an agreement” with manufacturing giant 3M to bring more than 55.5 million N95 respirators to the United States monthly to support health care workers.
“We have reached an agreement, a very amicable agreement, with 3M for the delivery of an additional 55.5 million high-quality face masks each month, so that we’re going to be getting over the next couple of months 166.5 million masks for our frontline health care workers,” Trump said at a CCP virus briefing on April 6.
The president said that the “3M saga ends very happily,” and that his administration is “very proud to be dealing with 3M,” adding that he had spoken with CEO Mike Roman and thanked him for “getting it done.”
Under the terms of the new deal, 3M will import 166.5 million respirator masks to the United States over the next three months, mostly from its factory in China, starting in April. The additional masks will supplement the 35 million masks 3M currently produces each month in the United States, the company said in a statement released on April 6.
The plan will also enable 3M to continue sending U.S.-produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where it is the primary source of supply.
“I want to thank President Trump and the administration for their leadership and collaboration,” Roman said in the statement. “We share the same goals of providing much-needed respirators to Americans across our country and combating criminals who seek to take advantage of the current crisis. These imports will supplement the 35 million N95 respirators we currently produce per month in the United States.”
Trump’s announcement comes after he invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) last week in relation to 3M, saying he wasn’t happy with the number of N95 masks the company was delivering to U.S. health care workers fighting the CCP virus. The DPA order authorized acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to “use any and all authority” to acquire as many respirators from the company or its affiliates as was deemed “appropriate.”
Later that day, Trump wrote on Twitter, “We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks,” in an apparent reference to reports that the manufacturing giant had been exporting many of its masks to other countries instead of reserving them for domestic use.
3M said in a statement at the time that it had gone “above and beyond to manufacture as many N95 respirators as possible for the U.S. market,” and that it has been “working closely with the administration to do exactly that,” but said that ceasing the export of respirators to Canadian and Latin American markets could have “significant humanitarian implications.”