China launches investigation into FedEx after Huawei packages diverted

WATCH: Trump signs executive order clearing the way to ban Huawei from U.S. networks

China is investigating FedEx after it diverted packages sent by Chinese tech giant Huawei, state media reported Saturday.

READ MORE: China warns Canada not to help U.S. in Huawei case or there will be ‘consequences’

The missed deliveries drew unusual attention because of speculation that they’re related to rising U.S.-China trade tensions and U.S. sanctions on Huawei.

China has opened an investigation into FedEx’s actions, which “severely harmed clients’ legitimate rights and interests and violated China’s delivery industry regulations,” the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Four packages containing paperwork sent out by Huawei were found to have been diverted to FedEx headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, instead of being delivered to Huawei offices in Asia.

WATCH: U.S. defence chief warns of instability in Asia, puts blame on China

U.S. defence chief warns of instability in Asia, puts blame on China
U.S. defence chief warns of instability in Asia, puts blame on China

FedEx apologized and said the packages were misrouted accidentally. It added that the company wasn’t told by anyone to divert the packages.

Story continues below advertisement

Huawei officials have questioned whether the diversions were truly inadvertent.

“I don’t think it is right for any company to intercept or detain individual documents or information,” Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, told reporters Wednesday. “If our rights were truly infringed upon, we have the legal right to defend ourselves.”

READ MORE: After U.S. blacklists Huawei, China threatens to draw up list of ‘unreliable’ companies

China announced its investigation into FedEx on the same day that its latest tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products went into effect. The duties of five per cent to 25 per cent are retaliation against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to raise duties on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 per cent, up from 10 per cent previously.

The U.S. has accused China of stealing trade secrets and forced technology transfers. It has placed Huawei on its “Entity List,” effectively barring U.S. firms from selling technology to Huawei without government approval. China responded to this action Friday, announcing that it will establish its own list of “unreliable entities” consisting of foreign businesses, corporations and individuals.