FedEx is suing the US government to obtain an exclusion to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) if it mistakenly ships goods that violate rules imposed on Chinese products by the Trump administration.
The lawsuit, filed in the District of Columbia by the US parcels giant against the US Department of Commerce, said that the EAR place an “unreasonable burden” on FedEx to “police the millions of shipments that transit our network every day”.
The logistics giant added that FedEx is “a transportation company, not a law enforcement agency”.
The legal move comes after a phone, produced by Huawei of China, was sent to the US and then returned to its sender in Britain, in what FedEx said was an “operational error.”
FedEx’s suit and delivery error come against a backdrop of increasing tension between the world’s two biggest economies. 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.
FedEx said today in a statement that it believes the EAR “violate common carriers’ rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution as they unreasonably hold common carriers strictly liable for shipments that may violate the EAR without requiring evidence that the carriers had knowledge of any violations”.
The statement continued: “This puts an impossible burden on a common carrier such as FedEx to know the origin and technological make-up of the contents of all the shipments it handles and whether they comply with the EAR.
“As a company that is committed to complying with all laws and regulations in the countries we serve, FedEx strongly supports the objectives of US export control laws.”
It continued: “We have invested heavily in our internal export control compliance program. However, we believe that the EAR, as currently constructed and implemented, place an unreasonable burden on FedEx to police the millions of shipments that transit our network every day. FedEx is a transportation company, not a law enforcement agency.
“FedEx will continue to defend our rights as a US based global company, and we remain committed to delivering outstanding service to our customers in all countries around the world.”
At the time of the Huawei phone incident, the parcels company stated: “FedEx values our business in China. Our relationship with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and our relationships with all of our customers in China are important to us. FedEx holds itself to a very high standard of service. FedEx will fully cooperate with any regulatory investigation into how we serve our customers.”
Conflict between FedEx and Huawei
Last month, China said it would launch an investigation after two parcels sent via FedEx destined for Huawei addresses in Asia were diverted to the United States. FedEx said the packages were “misrouted in error.”
In the latest incident, technology news outlet PCMag here said that its writer in Britain had attempted to send a Huawei P30 handset to a colleague in the United States. FedEx returned the phone and told the sender that it could not deliver the package because of a “U.S. government issue” with Huawei and the Chinese government, PCMag reported.
FedEx responded by saying publicly that it would deliver all products made by Huawei to addresses other than those of Huawei and affiliates placed on the U.S. national security blacklist.
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 Huawei spokesman said the Chinese firm was not currently using either FedEx or UPS services. On Sunday, Huawei tweeted it was not within FedEx’s right to prevent the delivery and said the courier had a “vendetta.”
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.
China is also drawing up its own “Unreliable Entities List” of foreign firms, groups and individuals. State-run newspaper Global Times on Sunday tweeted that FedEx was likely to be added to that list.
State news agency Xinhua previously said the investigation into FedEx misrouting Huawei packages should not be regarded as retaliation.
China’s foreign ministry asked for a full explanation.
Источник: Air Cargo News / Reuters