Mask Maker 3M Responds to Defense Production Act Order

Industrial conglomerate 3M (NYSE: MMM) responded today to the Trump administration's invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA), requiring the company to prioritize domestic orders for its N95 respirator masks. The company said that for several weeks it has been going "above and beyond" to manufacture N95 masks for the U.S. market.

In its statement, it said it has already been working with the administration to that end, and it looked forward to continue working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, it criticized, the administration's request that 3M stop exporting masks produced in the U.S. to Canada and Latin America, saying that could have "significant humanitarian implications," as it is a critical supplier to healthcare workers in those markets. 

N95 respirator mask

Image source: Getty Images.

Possible retaliation

3M said that cutting off exports of N95 masks could cause other countries to respond in kind. If that were to happen, the company believes, the net amount of masks being made available in the U.S. could actually decrease, the opposite of what the DPA is trying to accomplish. It noted that earlier this week it got permission from China to export 10 million N95 masks to the U.S. that were manufactured in China by 3M. 

3M also responded to reports of its N95 masks being resold by dealers and possible price gouging. It noted that this type of activity is both "unethical and illegal" and said that it is working with the U.S. Attorney General and others, "making it clear that 3M has not and will not raise prices for respirators and offering our assistance in the fight."

10 stocks we like better than 3M
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and 3M wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks


*Stock Advisor returns as of March 18, 2020


Howard Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3M. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


More Related Articles

Sign up for Smart Investing to get the latest news, strategies and tips to help you invest smarter.