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. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

(Reuters) – 3M Co (MMM.N) said on Friday it would increase the production of respirators and import more masks into the United States, after President Donald Trump invoked a law to help ease a shortage in the items needed to protect health staff against the coronavirus.

The company said it will work closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prioritize orders for the masks.(bit.ly/3dLDUfT)

Trump slammed 3M in a tweet late on Thursday after earlier announcing he was invoking the Defense Production Act to get the company to produce face masks.

The Defense Production Act, which was passed in 1950, grants the president the power to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security and other reasons.

U.S. trade adviser Peter Navarro said that the government had some issues making sure that enough of the masks produced by 3M around the world were coming back to the United States.

“The narrative that we aren’t doing everything we can as a company is just not true,” 3M Chief Executive Officer Mike Roman told CNBC television in an interview on Friday.

3M said on Friday it has secured China’s approval to export to the U.S. 10 million N-95 respirators manufactured by the company in China.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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