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War with Germany over face masks? Piracy or Justified by the US Defense Production Act?

War against COVID-19. Everyone for themselves?

War with Germany over face masks? Piracy or Justified by the US Defense Production Act?

“There is great national unity. This Unity is developing in the United States, restoring the nation to our full and glorious might.” These are the words today by US President Donald Trump. It goes along with his election theme “America First.”

In Germany, the senator responsible for internal affairs for the State of Berlin accused the United States of modern-day piracy.

Everyone in the world is fighting one common enemy: Coronavirus
Is this a true chance of global peace and cooperation, or a trigger point for hostility in a fight for survival? 

200,000 certified FFP2 face masks were ordered by the City of Berlin. They were necessary to protect first responders, the Berlin Police Department. The order was prepaid and was to be fulfilled by  3M . 3M is a Minnesota-based company, one of the largest manufacturers of the masks. 

Every power, every single resource to protect American Citizens will be implemented according to President Trump saying in Saturday’s press conference.

Manufacturing giant 3M pushed backed against President Trump in a statement on Friday that suggested it would not comply with a White House order to stop exporting masks to Canada and Latin America, and Germany of course.

The Trump administration on Thursday invoked the Defense Production Act, compelling 3M to prioritize orders for desperately needed N95 respirator masks for the US government’s national stockpile.

The Minnesota-based company, one of the largest manufacturers of the masks, said it was looking forward to implementing the order and had already been going “above and beyond” in recent weeks to churn them out as quickly as possible amid the coronavirus pandemic.


The Defense Production Act eventually was responsible for the United States to reroute 200,000 masks produced in China and on its way to Germany to reroute to the U.S.

Andreas Geisel, the interior minister for Berlin state, confirmed media reports that about 200,000 FFP2 masks purchased for the Berlin police were seized at an airport in Bangkok, Thailand following intervention by American authorities.

“We view this as an act of modern piracy,” he said in a written statement, stressing that such behavior between transatlantic partners is unacceptable.

“Even in times of global crisis, there should be no wild west methods. I am urging the [German] federal government to demand the U.S.A. respect international rules,” he added.

The Trump administration has been accused of pursuing a haphazard, “every man for himself” policy on equipment needed to deal with the pandemic. The rapid spread of coronavirus has led to a global run on sales of face masks, while many countries are facing shortages.

Worldwide infections are currently recorded at 1,193,348. million, with 64,273 deaths; 246,110 people have recovered.

Germany currently has 95,637 cases, 1395 dead. There are 1,141 cases per 1 million population in Germany with 10,962 tested per million Germans.

The United States has 306,854 cases, 8,350 dead. There are 927 cases per 1 million population in the USA with 4,743 Americans tested per million.

In New York alone (the US Epiccenter of Coronavirus) there are 113,704 cases with 3,565 deaths.

American manufacturers say it will be months before they meet the demand for high-quality masks, part of a broader breakdown in the effort to supply enough protective gear and lifesaving equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

USA War with Berlin? Piracy or Justified by the US Defense Production Act?
3 M Mask testing

3M Co. and a half dozen smaller competitors are making about 50 million N95 masks–which block 95% of very small particles–in the U.S. each month. That is far short of the 300 million N95 masks the Department of Health and Human Services estimated in March that U.S. health-care workers would need monthly to fight a pandemic. U.S. hospitals that previously purchased masks from abroad have turned to overburdened domestic suppliers after many countries blocked exports to fight the virus within their own borders.

3M has doubled mask production since January. When President Trump on Thursday invoked the Defense Production Act against 3M, which gives the US federal government more control over a company’s operations.

Other companies are also racing to add machines and hire staff to make tens of millions more masks each month. The domestic production boom in the United States is a reversal after three decades that manufacturers spent moving production of masks and other medical gear to China and elsewhere, amid the broader shift of industrial capacity to lower-cost countries. Hospital buyers supported a strategy that kept down costs for critical equipment.

Memorandum on Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding 3M Company

Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding 3M Company

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. 4501 et seq.) (the “Act”), it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  On March 13, 2020, I declared a national emergency recognizing the threat that the novel (new) coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 poses to our healthcare systems.  In recognizing the public health risk, I noted that on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced that the outbreak of COVID-19 (the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2) can be characterized as a pandemic.  I also noted that while the Federal Government, along with State and local governments, have taken preventive and proactive measures to slow the spread of the virus and to treat those affected, the spread of COVID-19 within our Nation’s communities threatens to strain our Nation’s healthcare systems.  I further noted that, to ensure that our healthcare systems are able to surge capacity and capability to respond to the spread of COVID-19, it is critical that all health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19 are properly distributed to the Nation’s healthcare systems and others that need them most at this time.  Accordingly, I found that health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19, including personal protective equipment and ventilators, meet the criteria specified in section 101(b) of the Act (50 U.S.C. 4511(b)).

Sec. 2.  Presidential Direction to the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary).  The Secretary, through the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Administrator), shall use any and all authority available under the Act to acquire, from any appropriate subsidiary or affiliate of 3M Company, the number of N-95 respirators that the Administrator determines to be appropriate.

Sec. 3.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

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