UPU Fast-Tracking Rate Review After Trump Pullout Threat

The Universal Postal Union (UPU), a hitherto quiet backwater that sets global cross-border mail and parcel rates, now plans to fast-track review of rate changes after President Trump last week threatened to pull out of the UPU accord, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Changes to the postal rates, which domestic shippers see as unfairly tilted against them, particularly regarding inbound parcels from Chinese sellers, could come as early as April, the report said.

The UPU earlier this year ignored requests from the Trump administration to revise its rate structure and cut back on discounts enjoyed by foreign shippers, China in particular. The discounts were established to help third-world countries become more competitive, a status China has long since eclipsed as an ecommerce powerhouse.

“If we work fast enough, and the member countries are all in consensus on these issues and decisions are made, by April next year I think it is a possibility,” UPU Director General Bishar Hussein told the WSJ.

The U.S. pullout process would have taken a year or more, during which time the U.S. State Department planned to strike unilateral and multilateral deals with other nations. The UPU, established in 1874, is based in Bern, Switzerland and overseen by the United Nations.

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