Jessica Vermeer
26 March 2020

The power Donald Trump wields over American factories could potentially derail the shipment of critical medical equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic, states Philips. The president can put the Defense Production Act into action, which grants authority to expand the supply of resources from US plants. This also applies to the hospital ventilators that Philips manufactures in California and Pennsylvania. The Dutch health tech company announced earlier this week that it plans to increase the production of medical supplies for diagnosis and care of patients with the coronavirus, including ventilators.

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If the US government decides to intervene, Philips may not be able to ship the ventilators to the regions where they’re most needed. Company spokesman Steve Klink states: “We know we can meet our production promises, but only if the entire supply chain cooperates. A respiratory device has many parts, which come from all over the world. Protectionism can have a detrimental effect, no matter if it happens at the end of the production line or somewhere in between.”

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in talks with both Philips and the Trump administration. As long as these are ongoing, export is expected to be unaffected.