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FedEx has only itself to blame for loss of trust from customers: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-07-26 18:05


A company prefers, of course, to be above reproach. But, failing that, the next best thing is unquestionably to get rid of the body, for it is being found with it wrapped in the carpet that brings remorse and the loss of trust from its customers.

Which is the position FedEx finds itself in now.

It has claimed that it misdirected three of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei's packages to the United States in May due to what it called "operational error".

Yet investigation by the Chinese authorities has found these were not due to any oversight but rather part of a deliberate pattern of behavior in which the US express services company is also suspected of holding up more than 100 Huawei packages entering China, as well as other violations of the law.

And with the investigation still on-going, it is expected that more wrongdoings are yet to be revealed.

Responding to China's investigation on Friday, FedEx blamed the mishandling of the packages on the "unclear" rules of the US Commerce Department, claiming they bring "great complexity" to its operation. "That is why we sued" the department, it said.

As one of the first foreign express delivery companies coming to China nearly 40 years ago, FedEx is well aware of China's postal law. But it has obviously underestimated the country's determination to enforce it to the letter. Otherwise, it would have not given such a feeble excuse when it was discovered to have delivered the three Huawei packages to the US, not their intended destination, which for one of the top-notch companies in the industry handling 15 million packages a day is a rather telling slip.

Not to mention that the on-going probe has just unveiled that it provided "customized services" for more than 100 packages of the same company, which has been tirelessly suppressed and vilified by the US government

It is interesting to see that its "operational error" excuse came shortly after the US government included Huawei on its entity list for export controls.

Even more interesting is that the shipper sued the US Commerce Department on June 24 to stop the agency from enforcing the export regulations against it. The company said in its statement announcing the lawsuit: "FedEx is a transportation company, not a law enforcement agency."

In the lawsuit, the shipper complains that to comply with the export controls it has to screen the names and addresses of senders and recipients prior to delivering any package in order to identify whether the senders and/or recipients are on the Commerce Department's entity list.

It seems that FedEx is just the fall guy for the US government.

It is natural for its Chinese customers, particularly those that are on the list or suppliers to the listed entities, to feel uneasy about tasking the US company with their deliveries given that it seems prone to acting as a tentacle of the long-arm jurisdiction the US government so delights in.

China has announced it is drawing up an unreliable entity list and FedEx seems likely to be one of the companies named on it. But for that, it only has itself to blame, or the US government, which always likes to get others to do its dirty work.

China welcomes any law-abiding foreign companies, but it will not turn a blind eye to those who try to bend it — whatever the reason.

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