• Jeremiah D Folia

Canada Threatens US Over COVID-19 Border-Closure

The Trump administration has caused some tension between the United States' northern neighbor. The President has been no stranger to America-first policy since that was one of his major campaign talking points when running for the position. Using subsidies in the US and stacking tariffs on imports, Trump has successfully moved production from other countries back into the United States. This, in effect caused higher prices for US parts, but also created thousands of local jobs. Now trying to treat the coronavirus pandemic the same way, he's facing backlash from the Canadian government.

In early March, Trump ordered 1000 more border patrol personnel to guard the northern US border. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed back against the order, stating that the border has been demilitarized for years, and

"It is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way"

The Trump administration issued a statement that they would do anything possible to prevent the spread of the virus, and that included completely locking down both borders. Since then, the administration has opened the border for trade but has placed a trade ban on US-produced N-95 masks used to protect healthcare workers. The President is given such power under the 1950 Defense Production Act.

3M was forced to comply, but responded with a press release stating that there are

“significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a critical supplier of respirators. In addition, 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.” 

After a conversation with 3M, the company agreed to produce 166.5 million masks for the US.

Prime Minister Trudeau responded stating that it "would be a mistake" to stop shipment of essential supplies that both countries rely on. 75% of traded products are sent to the US from Canada, and 18% of exports generated in the US are sent to Canada - so a complete border shutdown would harm Canada much more than it would the United States.

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