The US has been accused of redirecting 200,000 Germany-bound masks for its personal use, in a transfer condemned as “modern piracy”.
The native authorities in Berlin stated the cargo of US-made masks was “confiscated” in Bangkok.
The FFP2 masks, which have been ordered by Berlin’s police power, didn’t attain their vacation spot, it stated.
Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s inside minister, stated the masks have been presumably diverted to the US.
The US firm that makes the masks, 3M, has been prohibited from exporting its medical merchandise to different international locations underneath a Korean-War-era legislation invoked by President Donald Trump.
On Friday, Mr Trump stated he was utilizing the Defence Production Act to demand that US corporations present extra medical provides to fulfill home demand.
“We need these items immediately for domestic use. We have to have them,” Mr Trump stated on the every day Coronavirus Task Force briefing on the White House.
He stated US authorities had taken custody of almost 200,000 N95 respirators, 130,000 surgical masks and 600,000 gloves. He didn’t say the place they have been taken into US arms.
Mr Geisel stated the diversion of masks from Berlin amounted to an “act of modern piracy”, urging the Trump administration to stick to worldwide buying and selling guidelines.
“This is not how you deal with transatlantic partners,” the minister stated. “Even in times of global crisis, there should be no wild-west methods.”
A ‘treasure hunt’ for masks
Mr Geisel’s feedback echo the emotions of different European officers, who’ve complained concerning the shopping for and diversion practices of the US.
In France, for instance, regional leaders say they’re struggling to safe medical provides as American patrons outbid them.
The president of the Île-de-France area, Valérie Pécresse, in contrast the scramble for masks to a “treasure hunt”.
“I found a stock of masks that was available and Americans – I’m not talking about the American government – but Americans, outbid us,” Ms Pécresse stated. “They offered three times the price and they proposed to pay up-front.”
As the coronavirus pandemic worsens, demand for essential medical provides, reminiscent of masks and respirators, has surged worldwide.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated it was contemplating altering its steering on whether or not individuals ought to put on face masks in public.
At current, the WHO advises that masks don’t present enough safety from an infection to justify mass utilization. But some international locations have taken a unique view, together with the US.
On Friday, Mr Trump introduced that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will now advocate that Americans use non-medical, material face coverings to assist forestall the unfold of the virus.
The US has 273,880 recorded circumstances of Covid-19, the very best quantity on the earth by a big margin.
Covid-19, the illness attributable to coronavirus, has affected a couple of million individuals and killed nearly 60,000 globally, the newest figures present.
‘Significant humanitarian implications’
In a separate improvement, 3M stated the Trump administration had requested it to cease exporting US-made N95 respirator masks to Canada and Latin America.
- READ MORE: US ‘desires 3M to finish mask exports to Canada and Latin America’
The request had “significant humanitarian implications”, the corporate warned, and will immediate different international locations to behave in form.
The firm says it manufactures about 100 million N95 masks per 30 days – a few third are made within the US, and the remaining produced abroad.
President Trump stated he had used the Defence Production Act to “hit 3M hard”, with out offering extra particulars. The legislation dates again to 1950 and permits a president to power corporations to make merchandise for nationwide defence.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau advised reporters on Friday that “it would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce trade”.