3M, Trump Admin. Reveal Plan to Boost N-95 Mask Imports

April 7, 2020

4 Min Read
3M, Trump Admin. Reveal Plan to Boost N-95 Mask Imports
3M aims to import 166.5 million N-95 respirators to the US over the next three months. Image courtesy of 3M

Industrial firm 3M is collaborating with the Trump administration to increase the availability of N-95 respirators in the US by importing 166.5 million of the masks over the next three months, the company announced in a release Monday. 

The move comes after President Trump recently criticized 3M’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic and attempted to block the company from exporting some of the products to other countries battling the virus. In turn, 3M Chief Executive Officer Mike Roman replied in a tweet that Trump’s comments were untrue and said that the company is working to get as many respirators to US healthcare workers as possible.

“3M and the Administration worked together to ensure that this plan does not create further humanitarian implications for countries currently fighting the COVID-19 outbreak,” the firm said in the release. 

The majority of respirators will be imported from 3M’s manufacturing plant in China. Shipments are slated to begin in April. Under the terms of the deal, 3M will also be able to continue sending respirators to Canada and Latin America. 

“Given the reality that demand for respirators outpaces supply, we are working around the clock to further expand our capacity, while prioritizing and redirecting our supplies to serve the most critical areas,” Roman said in a statement. “We’ll continue to do all we can to protect our heroic healthcare workers and first responders.”

3M doubled its global capacity for N-95 respirators to 1.1 billion units per year in January. Further investments will enable the firm to make 2 billion respirators across its footprint within 12 months. 

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