The northern Mexico border state of Baja California closed a plant run by the Anglo-American health care firm Smiths Medical Friday for allegedly refusing to sell ventilators to Mexican hospitals.
Baja California Gov. Jaime Bonilla said the firm refused to sell Mexico some of the machines, which are badly needed to treat patients with coronavirus.
Bonilla said the firm had continued to operate its assembly plant under the argument it provided an “essential” service, when most non-essential plants have been ordered closed to combat the pandemic.
But Bonilla ordered the Smiths Medical factory closed, because he argued it was providing no such essential service to Mexicans, and thus was not obeying health emergency contingency measures.
The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Industry sources have argued the factory is an export-only plant that operates under special rules that allow it to import raw materials and parts duty-free, on the condition they be re-exported and not sold on the local market.
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Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company is owned by U.K.-based Smiths Group plc.
Mexico now has 3,844 case of the new coronavirus, with 233 deaths nationwide.
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