U.S. Postal Service May Leave International Agreement

U.S. May Withdraw from UPU

According to Freight Waves, “The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will leave the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on October 17, ending 144 years of U.S. involvement in the international body that governs the exchange of mail and postal parcels between countries, and perhaps fundamentally changing the landscape of global air shipping.  The U.S. State Department, which is the lead negotiator for the U.S. in UPU, has submitted a proposal that would allow the U.S. to “self-declare” international postage pricing and to decide on subsidy levels, if any. Unless the UPU agrees to the proposal by a September 30 deadline, the U.S. will leave the Union 17 days later and, over time, begin a framework of bilateral negotiations with individual postal authorities. The self-declare regime would begin in 2020.”

The United States originally announced it would withdraw from the International Postal Agreement in the fall of 2018 with a goal to receive fair postal rates.  For example, and according to U.S. News, “China is in a category for developing nations, and the [Universal Postal] Union has allowed those nations to pay lower rates than wealthier nations.”  The lower rates allow Chinese manufacturers to sell low-priced goods to U.S. consumers at a competitive advantage.  In fact, some U.S. consumers can even buy a Chinese-manufactured product from China and pay less in shipping than they would pay domestically.

Leveling the Playing Field

Moreover, Americans Abroad Online states, “The UPU’s 192 member states periodically agree a fixed remuneration known as “terminal dues” owed to the postal operator of the delivery country. China’s terminal dues were fixed in 1969, and favored Chinese shippers with very low rates commensurate with China’s status as a lesser-developed country. In the absence of modification, this low rate has come to provide a cost savings windfall to Chinese shippers, creating an annual deficit for the US Postal Service of roughly $300 million. Small packet shipments to US customers cost Chinese shippers much less than US shippers pay for the same item to be sent to a US customer.”

The Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) third Extraordinary Congress will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, from 24-26 September on the matter of postal remuneration rates.

Established in 1874, the Universal Postal Union (UPU), with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne, is the second oldest international organization worldwide. The UPU is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players. It  helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.

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