Trump bans price hikes and stockpiling amidst covid-19 pandemic

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order banning hoarding and price increases of products during the country’s coronavirus pandemic, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said on her Twitter account.

«President Donald Trump has just signed an executive order to prevent the hoarding and pricing of supplies needed in our war against the coronavirus. This sends a strong message: we will not allow those who hoard vital supplies and manipulate prices to harm America’s health in this hour of need,» the spokeswoman said.

Previously, the coronavirus epidemic caused a shortage of several items in the U.S., such as disinfectants and toilet paper, and attempts were made to sell them at inflated prices through Amazon, Ebay and other similar platforms.

On 22 March, Trump’s commercial advisor, Peter Navarro, warned against such actions and reported that the State may intervene in distribution.

«The agents are offering millions of items, whether it’s glasses, masks or whatever. And you go through three different intermediaries and you trace it back to a warehouse in Los Angeles that supposedly has 10 million masks and can charge you seven times as much as they cost. That’s a price hike,» the official said during a White House press conference.

«We’re going to send a message to the stockpiles: if you’ve got large quantities of material that this country needs right now, get them to market or send them to us. We’ll pay you a fair price. But if you don’t, we’ll come and get you and make sure that doesn’t happen in this country. And that would be a good use of the Defense Production Act,» he added.

«It won’t be a lasting problem.»
In a press conference minutes after Grisham’s announcement, Trump said the negative influence of the covid-19 pandemic on the U.S. economy would not last long.

«America will be open for business again,» Trump said, according to Reuters.

«We’re not going to let it become a lasting financial problem,» he said.

Meanwhile, Bank of America, one of the largest financial corporations in the United States, declared on March 19 «officially» that the U.S. economy «has fallen into a recession.

On March 18, Trump announced that it would invoke the Defense Production Act. The Act, which was enacted in 1950 in response to the outbreak of the Korean War, gives the federal government the power to instruct manufacturers to produce equipment needed by the country such as protective masks and fans.

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