President Donald Trump announced on Monday that a deal had been made with industrial giant 3M on the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), like face masks, to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
According to the Washington Examiner, the president made use of a statute dating back to 1950 called the Defense Production Act (DPA), which allows him to order private manufacturers to meet government-set production quotas.
“Because of my actions under the DPA, I can…announce that 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,” Trump said at Monday’s coronavirus press briefing at the White House, according to the Examiner.
“We are going to be getting, over the next couple of months, 166.5 million masks for our front-line health care workers,” the president added. “The 3M saga ends very happily.”
A war of words
Mask production had been a point of contention between 3M and the president, with the Trump administration objecting to the company’s decision to export the much-needed protective gear to other countries, according to the BBC.
The conflict included harsh words from White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who told The New York Times: “While hundreds of other large American multinationals are stepping up with pride and patriotism, 3M remains an outlier, and its propaganda war must stop.”
He went on to accuse the corporation of “operating like a sovereign profit-maximizing nation internationally,” rather than fighting for America’s needs, the Times reported.
“All we get from the CEO on down to the head of their PR department is lie upon lie, the latest of which — which is dead wrong — is that we demanded 3M not send production from its U.S. plants to our friends and allies in Canada and Mexico,” Navarro said.
“A great company”
In response, 3M contended that efforts to restrict exports are counterproductive and would only lead to retaliation against the United States.
“Ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same, as some have already done,” the company told the Times last week. “If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease… That is the opposite of what we and the administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek.”
However, it seems tempers have since been tamed.
“We’re very proud now to be dealing with 3M and its CEO Mike Roman,” Trump said Monday, according to a White House transcript. “I just spoke with him and I thanked him for getting it done, and Mike was very happy to get it done. It’s a great company.”