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No Germany-bound shipment of masks was diverted to the US: embassy

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No Germany-bound shipment of masks was diverted to the US: embassy

By The Nation

 

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The US embassy in Bangkok is denying reports suggesting that a shipment of face masks designated for Germany was seized at the airport and diverted to the United States, while Thailand’s Customs Department has also said that there has been no such action from the United States. 

 

The comment from the embassy came after the Wall Street Journal reported that a shipment of face masks manufactured in China and heading for Germany had been seized at a Bangkok airport and diverted to the US.

 

“The United States Government did not take any action to divert any 3M supplies that were destined to Germany nor did we have any knowledge of such a shipment,” the US embassy said in response to The Nation’s enquiry. 

 

“Leaders around the world are grappling with unprecedented challenges as they tackle the Covid-19 global pandemic. The United States is significantly increasing production of materials domestically while working through appropriate channels to purchase excess supplies from other nations to meet our needs.

 

“At the same time, the United States is working in solidarity with our partners and allies to provide humanitarian assistance to countries in need and take all possible measures to combat the spread of coronavirus,” said the embassy.

 

The US government has been clear that action will be taken against price-gouging and pandemic profiteering, and we take seriously incidents that are reported, the embassy said, adding “we remain concerned about pervasive attempts to divide international efforts through unsourced, unattributed disinformation campaigns”. 

 

Meanwhile, Customs Department spokesman Chaiyuth Kamkhun said no shipments of the aforesaid items had been confiscated at a Bangkok airport. He also quoted a German customs official who works in Thailand as saying that he did not know of any such shipments being seized in Bangkok. 

 

There is a severe shortage of face masks, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) across the world as government rush to place orders as the Covid-19 pandemic worsens.

 

The Washington Post has reported that the Trump government is scrabbling to scoop upmedical supplies, angering Canada and Germany. The Washington Post also reported that late on Thursday (April 2), the White House ordered face mask manufacturer, 3M, in Minnesota to prioritise US orders over foreign demand, using its authority under the Defence Production Act to try to ease critical shortage of N95 masks in US hospitals.

 

Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30385504

 

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-- © Copyright The Nation Thailand 2020-04-06

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Accused of 'piracy', U.S. denies diverting masks bound for Germany

By Patpicha Tanakasempipat

 

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FILE PHOTO: Various N95 respiration masks at a laboratory of 3M, that has been contracted by the U.S. government to produce extra marks in response to the country's novel coronavirus outbreak, in Maplewood, Minnesota, U.S. March 4, 2020. Picture taken March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi/File Photo

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States had no knowledge of a shipment of face masks bound for Germany that officials in Berlin have accused it of diverting from an airport in Bangkok, a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Thailand said.

 

The comment came after Berlin Secretary of Interior Andreas Geisel said on Friday that an order of 200,000 masks bound for Germany had been "confiscated" in Bangkok and diverted to the United States, calling it an "act of modern piracy".

 

"The United States Government did not take any action to divert any 3M supplies that were destined to Germany nor did we have any knowledge of such a shipment," Jillian Bonnardeaux, the spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Bangkok, told Reuters.

 

"We remain concerned about pervasive attempts to divide international efforts through unsourced, unattributed disinformation campaigns."

 

Thai authorities were not reachable on Monday as the country was observing a public holiday.

 

The accusation that masks were diverted came at a time when countries are scrambling to secure protective gear to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Allies of the United States from Europe to South America have complained about "Wild West" tactics they say Washington has employed to outbid or block shipments of medical supplies to original buyers.

 

Globally, there were more than 1.25 million cases of coronavirus and 68,400 deaths across 211 countries and territories, as of Monday morning, according to a Reuters tally.

 

Although Germany's Geisel said on Friday the consignment had been "confiscated" in Bangkok, his office rowed back a day later, saying it was still trying to clarify the circumstances of how the masks, which were ordered from a German wholesaler, and not from U.S. manufacturer 3M [MMM.N], had been diverted.

 

A spokeswoman for 3M had told Reuters the company had no evidence that its products had been seized.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that "there has been no act of piracy".

 

(Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Gareth Jones)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-04-07

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Talk to Thamanat!

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7 hours ago, RichardColeman said:

Hopefully when this is over, the government will issue huge loans to companies to encourage production growth of most products imported from China. best way punish china is start making their stuff in your own country

I am not sure that loans will do the trick. Higher prices could as the wages of Americans are higher than in China.

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13 hours ago, Mango Bob said:

My money is on either the Chinese or the Russians making up the story.

Well it is in black and white that the WSJ made up the story.

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