Canada, Partners Reiterate Support For Free Flow Of Goods And WHO Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

TORONTO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 08th April, 2020) Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne discussed support for the free flow of goods and the World Health Organization (WHO) amid global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with envoys from at least eleven other nations, a readout of the conversation said.

"The ministers also stressed the critical need to ensure the cross-border flow of essential goods and to keep supply chains intact during this ongoing crisis, especially for medical supplies and personal protective equipment," the readout said on Tuesday.

The heads of the respective diplomatic missions also reaffirmed their support for the World Health Organization (WHO) and were unanimous in that citizens abroad must have access to consular services and that borders must remain open to facilitate the return of nationals to their home countries should they so wish.

The free flow of essential goods across international borders has become a growing point of contention as countries increasingly vie for limited stocks of personal protective equipment on the international market.

In recent days, a number of countries - Canada, France and Germany - have suggested that the United States is undercutting them to procure essential medical equipment.

The Trump administration formally invoked the Defense Production Act last week to require the company 3M to prioritize orders from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency for N95 respirator masks that would have impacted deliveries to Canada.

It was only after a brokered deal with the US government on Monday that 3M revealed that they would be able to honor all Canadian orders.

Earlier on Tuesday, WHO came under fire from US President Donald Trump, who said in a statement that although the organization is funded largely by the United States, it is biased toward China and that his administration intends look into that matter.