US Plans To Withdraw From 144 Year-old Postal Treaty

Geraldine Edwards
October 22, 2018

About 60% of packages shipped into the USA come from China, the New York Times reports. This may sound like just another addition to Trump's trade war, but global shipping has become increasingly unfair for the US.

The US aims to adopt self-declared rates for terminal dues - collected by the destination postal agency from the sending agency when packages are sent overseas - by no later than January 1, 2020, regardless of the outcome of negotiations, the statement added.

While it would not be the only reason, the ease with which individuals can place orders with businesses faking USA collector coins and then have them shipped into the subsidized postal rates likely is one of them.

The treaty sets fees that national postal services charge to deliver mail and small packages from other countries, and gives poor and developing markets lower shipping rates than developed nations.

A 2015 report from the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service found that the treaty, which was created to facilitate the flow of mail and small parcels among 192 countries, had not been updated to reflect the new realities of e-commerce and China's aggressive undercutting of worldwide competitors. "All parties should pay the same parcel delivery rates for the same services from the U.S. Postal Service, regardless of whether the country of origin is foreign or domestic".

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The UPU system divides countries into categories, based on their level of development, which determines the rates of terminal dues paid to each other.

According to the US Postal Service, it would cost around US$20 to mail a small parcel of two kilograms from one US state to another, but mailing the same package from China would only cost US$5.

And the evidence he quotes to support his "insufficient ammunition theory" is rather simple: China levied additional tariffs on goods worth $53.1 billion from the United States, while the USA levied additional tariffs on goods worth $200 billion.

Officials said they hope the notice of withdrawal will set the stage to agree a better deal.

Others warned that United States companies that depend on small components shipped from China could see costs rise.

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While China certainly uses aid and loans to further its interests, the United States and other imperialist powers have for decades cynically exploited aid and loans-either directly or through agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank-to compel smaller, economically backward countries to carry out their economic and strategic demands.

Under the treaty's framework it takes a year for a country to withdraw, during which rates can be renegotiated.

But the provision also allows Chinese producers to ship items to the USA at significantly low rates even compared to some U.S. domestic shipping rates.

If the United States can resolve the rate issue within a year, it can easily rescind that notification, a White House official said.

In a report issued Wednesday, the Treasury Department said no country meets the criteria to be labeled a currency manipulator. New rates will take at least six months to take effect.

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Since Pence's speech, the anti-China drumbeat from top USA officials has increased. China has maintained its restraint since the beginning of the ongoing trade war, but that does not mean it is inferior to the USA in capabilities.

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