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US Postal Service quiet on supposed China partnership

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The United States Postal Service isn't on the same page with a major Chinese company that claims they have an agreement in the works.

The USPS would not confirm or deny to CNBC the existence of an agreement with a major Chinese package-shipping firm that just launched an initial public offering in the United States. Meanwhile, the Chinese company in question has posted photographs online of an apparent deal signing between the two.

Shanghai-based ZTO Express debuted on Oct. 27 as the largest U.S. IPO of the year, and chief financial officer James Guo told CNBC then that the company had recently entered a partnership with the United States Postal Service for handling cross-border transactions.

"ZTO International Logistics and USPS establish a strategic cooperative relationship to build a bigger and stronger 'world business'" -ZTO Express release

Source: ZTO Express website.
Front row, left to right: The CEO's brother-in-law Jianchang Lai, vice president of overseas operations at ZTO; Cliff Rucker, senior vice president of sales and customer relations at USPS

A release on ZTO's website from Oct. 15 purports to show USPS Senior Vice President of Sales and Customer Relations Cliff Rucker signing a cooperation agreement with ZTO International Logistics in San Diego, California, on Oct. 12. The release, translated from Mandarin by CNBC, claims that the company established a "strategic cooperative relationship" with the USPS.

Asked for elaboration, a USPS spokesman told CNBC that he could not confirm the existence of any partnership with ZTO. The spokesman did not respond to a subsequent request for comment on the ZTO release, which includes the images of Rucker signing the deal against a backdrop with the logos of both ZTO and USPS.

No record of the deal can be found on the postal service's website. ZTO did not respond to a CNBC request for a follow-up on the status of any deal with the USPS.

A separate release on ZTO's website from Aug. 30 said USPS' Rucker visited ZTO's Shanghai headquarters a week earlier and expressed willingness for the two entities to work together.