On Friday Germany lashed at the United States for what one top lawmaker in Berlin called “an act of modern piracy” after US authorities “confiscated” a Chinese-manufactured shipment of 200,000 protective masks after they arrived at a port in Thailand while en route to Germany.
In an amazing irony, the masks had actually been purchased by the German government from an American company — though manufactured in China — and yet the US still intercepted them at a moment Trump has warned US companies with factories in China they’ll “have a big price to pay” if they don’t increase supply to the US.
By the end of the week in total three US allies accused Washington of theft over intercepts and seizures of supplies being shipped out of China, namely Canada, France and Germany.
Berlin Interior Minister Andreas Geisel stated bluntly of Washington’s brazen move: “Even in times of global crisis, we should not be ruled by Wild West methods,” according to Deutsche Welle. The German newspaper explained further:
The state of Berlin had ordered FFP2-class respirators for Berlin police officers, who continue to operate during the crisis.
The chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Rolf Mützenich, said the confiscation was “illegal” and called for the incident to be clarified.
Interestingly, this whole episode underscores just how desperately strained the US health system is becoming under the COVID-19 panemic, considering the unprecedented lengths the US administration is willing to go, essentially resorting to “piracy” – as Germany put it.
Canada on Thursday also lashed out after US authorities apparently muscled their way into redirecting a protective gear shipment intended for America’s northern neighbor. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was“concerned” over reports that a crucial major shipment was depleted after “a higher bidder” took advantage of the situation. “We understand that the needs in the US are very extensive, but it’s the same in Canada, so we have to work together,” Trudeau said.