FedEx sues government over export regulations

FedEx is taking the US government thanks to export / import regulations it believes to be unfair. The company has to check that all its parcels meet such regulations or could be fined a quarter of a million dollars per errant packet. FedEx says this place an ‘impossible burden’ on carriers.

In a statement published on the 24 June, FedEx said it “has filed suit in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia seeking to enjoin the U.S. Department of Commerce from enforcing prohibitions contained in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) against FedEx”.

According to the company statement: “FedEx believes that the EAR violate common carriers’ rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. 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.

“This puts an impossible burden on a common carrier such as FedEx to know the origin and technological make-up of contents of all the shipments it handles and whether they comply with the EAR.”

FedEx added that – while it “strongly supports the objectives of U.S. export control laws” – it believes that “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”.

In an interview with Fox News, FedEx CEO Fred Smith commented: “Under the Department of Commerce regulations, we are expected to be the policeman for these export and import controls.

“Despite the fact that we handle 15 million shipments a day, if we make an error on any one of them… we can be fined $250,000 a piece.”


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