FedEx Corp said on June 23 an operational error prevented a Huawei Technologies package from being delivered to the United States, just weeks after the U.S. delivery company said an error led to the Chinese firm’s packages being misdirected.
China’s Global Times newspaper said in a tweet later the company is likely to be added to China’s ‘unreliable entities list’ due to the incident, which occurred days before U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s leader Xi Jinping are due to meet in Japan to try to deescalate a trade war.
Trade tensions between the United States and China have extended beyond tariffs, particularly after Washington put Huawei, the world’s biggest telecoms gear maker, on a blacklist that effectively bans U.S. firms from doing business with the company.
“The package in question was mistakenly returned to the shipper, and we apologize for this operational error,” FedEx told Reuters in an emailed statement. A company spokeswoman confirmed that the package was U.S. bound but declined to say what it contained.
China threatened in late May to unveil its own unprecedented hit-list of “unreliable” foreign firms, groups and individuals that harm the interests of Chinese companies.
China did not single out any countries or companies, but said the list will apply to companies who flout market rules and the spirit of contracts, block supplies to Chinese companies for non-commercial reasons and “seriously harm the legitimate rights and interests” of Chinese companies, according to a report in state-run China National Radio.
The commerce ministry will disclose more details of the list soon, the report said.
China’s commerce ministry and FedEx did not respond to a request for comment on the likelihood of FedEx being added to the ‘unreliable’ list. Global Times is published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily.
The U.S. Commerce Department said on June 21 it was adding several Chinese companies and a government-owned institute involved in supercomputing with military applications to its own entity list that bars them from buying U.S. parts and components without government approval.
China launched an investigation into FedEx earlier this month over Huawei parcels delivered to the wrong address, without giving details about the deliveries in question. It was the latest move by Beijing to retaliate against the United States amid escalating trade tensions.
Huawei, which said it was reviewing its relationship with FedEx after the mishandling of its packages earlier, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The United States and China have been engaged in a trade fight for nearly a year on issues such as tariffs, subsidies, technology, regulations and cyber security, among others.
A telephone call between Trump and Xi on June 18, as well as confirmation the two will meet in Japan on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit, have rekindled hopes of a detente.
By Kanishka Singh