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Germany Hurls Big Accusation at Trump Over N95 Masks

Newser — Neal Colgrass

German officials are accusing the Trump administration of "modern piracy" after 200,000 high-quality masks were apparently seized before reaching Germany, the Wall Street Journal reports. Seems the N95 masks—sought after by medical professionals for protection against the coronavirus—were made by the US company 3M's factory in China and confiscated in Bangkok among an order of 400,000 pieces. 3M says it knows nothing of the confiscation and "cannot speculate where this report originated," but German officials are fuming, with one calling Trump's actions "inhumane" and another saying "America's behavior since the crisis started has been positively rabid when it comes to medical supplies."

That echoes complaints from other countries about America allegedly hogging medical supplies, Deutsche Welle reports.

French politicians say US buyers have snapped up masks destined for France, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ordered an investigation into masks allegedly rerouted from Canada.

Trump, meanwhile, has invoked the Defense Production Act to pressure 3M into supplying more N95 masks after the company refused to divert roughly 10 million masks from Asia to the US, an insider tells the Financial Times.

"We're not happy with 3M," Trump said Friday. But 3M warned that blocking masks to Canada and Latin America posed "humanitarian implications" and might cause other countries to withhold supplies to America.

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