Canada not looking to retaliate after U.S. restricts coronavirus mask exports: Trudeau

WATCH: Trudeau won't retaliate over Trump's order to ban N95 mask exports to Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is not considering retaliation after U.S. President Donald Trump told a manufacturer of medical masks not to export them to Canada.

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“We are not looking at retaliatory measures or measures that are punitive,” he said.

Trudeau said he would be speaking with Trump in the coming days and looking for a positive solution on the issue.

“We’re continuing to engage at all levels with the administration, having very constructive conversations highlighting that the flow of goods and services that are essential to both of our countries flow both ways across the borders,” he said.

He was referencing the medical professionals who live in Canada and work in the United States, as well as supplies such as gloves and testing kits that Canada ships to the country.

“It is in both of our interests to maintain this extraordinary close relationship,” he said.

Trudeau made the remarks in his daily address to Canadians from outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.

Coronavirus: Trump asks medical supply firm 3M to stop selling N95 respirators to Canada

On Friday, 3M said it was asked by the Trump administration not to supply N95 respirators (medical-grade face masks) to Canada and Latin America amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Trump has ordered the Minnesota-based company to produce and sell as many masks as the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it needs. He invoked the Defence Production Act in order to speed up the distribution of masks.


Trump later released a statement saying that nothing in his order “will interfere with the ability of PPE manufacturers to export when doing so is consistent with United States policy and in the national interest of the United States.”

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Friday that 3M would continue to export masks to Canada.

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“3M is basically going to be helping the American people fight this battle,” he said. “There will still be some exports from the United States factories to our friends in Mexico and Canada but as for the rest of 3M’s production around the world, we’re going to try to get our fair share.

“We will get our fair share.”

It was not immediately clear how many masks would be sent to Canada, or whether the Trump administration had walked back its request to the company.

3M did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Trump, in his opening remarks at his Saturday press conference, highlighted the need for masks to stay in the U.S.

“We need the masks, we don’t want other people getting them,” Trump said.

When asked about claims that the Trump administration had a 3M shipment of 200,000 masks designated for Berlin diverted to the U.S., the president said: “They should be taking care of our country, they can sell to others, but they should be taking care of our country.”

“They’ve gotta get their act together,” he said, adding that “they’re going to have a hell of a price to pay” if they don’t start treating the U.S. properly.

Trudeau said Canada is working “day and night” to secure additional supplies, using Canadian companies along with suppliers around the world.

A chartered cargo flight with “millions” of masks will be arriving in the next 48 hours from China, he said.

—With files from The Canadian Press, Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun and Maham Abedi

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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