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China set to start adding companies to its own ‘unreliable entities’ list

Fed Ex refused to deliver a Huawei smartphone between the UK and US, now it seems likely to be put on a Chinese list of undesirable companies.

The issue was flagged up by PC magazine in a story headlined Are Huawei Phones Now Banned From the Mail? One of its UK writers attempted to send a Huawei P30 phone to the magazine’s US office via the Parcelforce and Fed Ex courier services, but got sent back as per the tweet below.

The form that accompanied the parcel identified its contents as a Huawei phone and it apparently spent 5 hours being peered at with deep suspicion before being returned to sender. The stated reason for sending it back was Huawei’s presence on the US ‘entity list’ (to which it recently added 5 more companies), which essentially identifies organizations US companies, and any others who was to stay in America’s good books, are not allowed to do business with.

In an update Fed Ex is now claiming the package was returned in error, but that may not be enough to keep it off a reciprocal list of banned companies China is apparently compiling. According to the Global Times, which is known to be supportive of the Chinese state, Fed Ex is now likely to be added to something called the ‘unreliable entities’ list, which is rumoured to have been recently created by the Chinese state to give the US a taste of its own medicine.  

This all feels like an entirely predictable escalation of a trade war that is increasingly taking its toll on both sides of the Pacific. The G20 meeting of global political leaders takes place in Japan later this week and at the top of the agenda will be the US/China trade war. Companies from both countries are being used as proxies in this battle of wills between Presidents Trump and Xi, so everyone will be hoping they make some progress towards mutual compromise.

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