Earlier this month, the Chinese government began investigating FedEx for misdelivering parcels from Huawei to the wrong addresses, though it hasn't provided any further details. Technology news outlet PCMag, formerly known as PC Magazine, reported that its writer in Britain had attempted to send a Huawei P30 handset to a colleague in the United States. The Trump administration has claimed that Huawei poses a threat to USA national security, and it has aggressively sought to keep Huawei from buying US software and chips.
Chinese telecoms company Huawei Technologies Co in May was added to the U.S. "Entity List" of people and companies the government said posed a risk to the United States, essentially barring it from buying U.S. technology upon which it was heavily reliant.
PCMag attempted to send a Huawei P30 Pro from London to its NY office through FedEx, but the company refused to deliver the smartphone, returning the package to London citing the ongoing conflict between the USA government and Huawei.
"The Huawei incident concern two packages - two out of 15 million - where a 30-year employee - a great FedEx team member - made an error and diverted two packages for a compliance audit".
FedEx came into the spotlight recently when - while attempting to enforce the U.S. ban - a package heading for the United States was returned to its sender in the UK, which was PCMag. Other reports also say that because of the incident, China is now contemplating on putting FedEx on its own blacklist.
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FedEx rival United Parcel Service Inc also confirmed it would not ship to Huawei addresses on the Entity List but had no "general ban" on Huawei products. A company spokeswoman confirmed that the package was USA bound but declined to say what it contained.
China's state news agency Xinhua had said back then that the investigation into FedEx over misdirected mail should not be regarded as retaliation against the U.S. company, amid worsening trade relations between China and the United States.
It was worth a shot, FedEx, but Huawei, who according to Reuters, was already reexamining its relationship with FedEx after the earlier incident, so FedEx will likely have just soured its business relationship with the second largest electronics supplier in the world after Samsung with this recent incident, intentional or not.
The United States and China have been engaged in a trade fight for almost a year on issues such as tariffs, subsidies, technology, regulations and cybersecurity, among others.
A telephone call between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi JinPing last week, 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.