White House weighs crackdown on companies exporting critical medical supplies

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President Trump will sign an order Friday cracking down on so-called “shady brokers” who bid up the price of medical supplies and ship them out to other countries during the coronavirus pandemic. But an administration source tells Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that the new policy restrictions could go beyond brokers – and include companies that are shipping supplies out of the country.

While states are still struggling with a supply shortage, medical supplies are being shipped out of the country by the shipload – some by United States government agencies.

Fox News has learned that USAID had a warehouse of masks sitting dormant in Miami at the same time a Miami Veterans Affairs hospital told their workers they needed to re-use the same facemask for a week. USAID (the United States Agency for International Development) emptied the warehouse and exported the masks overseas.

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Fox News is told the administration has stopped sending USAID packages with personal protective equipment (PPE) overseas.

As the government eyes a rollback of exports to keep supplies stocked here – top medical supply distributors are still sending loads of equipment to other countries -- Fox News talked with several top medical supply distributors who say they are shipping equipment to overseas clients.

One top ventilator manufacturer donated $700,000 dollars worth of equipment and ventilators to Wuhan, China in February. 3M, a manufacturer of N95 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE), says they are exporting US-made masks to Canada and Latin America.

So far, the United States has avoided putting in place an export restrictions that would prevent foreign buyers from scooping up needed supplies – but other countries have.

According to Global Trade Alert, since March 21, 54 countries have put export restrictions in place to stop vital supplies from being shipped to other countries.

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An administration source tells "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that the White House is looking at ramping up restrictions on companies who are exporting medical supplies while there is a shortage here in the U.S.

But companies worry an all-out ban would actually deplete supply in the U.S. 3M says the Trump administration has “requested” they stop exporting US-made masks to other countries.

The company warns that could trigger retaliation from other countries and disrupt the supply chain “ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate," saying "the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease. That is the opposite of what we and the administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek.”

A medical supply company that makes ventilators tells Fox News a high capacity ventilator uses 1,500 parts sourced from 14 different countries, warning a supply disruption could mean fewer ventilators are made and consequences could be “deadly."