US to Remain in Universal Postal Union After Compromise Reached

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Yesterday, the Universal Postal Union announced that it had reached a compromise on postal rates, avoiding a withdrawal by the United States from the worldwide mail pact which could have affected American voters around the globe. Reuters has more:

The U.N. agency linking postal systems worldwide on Wednesday agreed to reform its fee structure under a proposal by the United States that averted the Trump administration leaving the global network but may mean many consumers pay more.

The compromise deal was agreed by consensus at the Universal Postal Union’s emergency congress after two days of talks, with delegates standing to applaud.

The Trump administration served notice last October that it would leave in 12 months unless fee rates were changed so that importing countries did not lose money from distributing mail and packages from countries including China in the age of e-commerce.

Under the agreement, high-volume importers of mail and packages would be allowed to begin imposing “self-declared rates” for distributing foreign mail from January 2021. There is a five-year period for phasing in new fees.

Countries with more than 75,000 tonnes in post imported annually – mainly the United States – may apply their self-declared new rates from July 2020, UPU officials said.

“We will begin our self-declared rates at the end of June next year. This is exactly what we wanted and planned for,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who led the U.S. delegation, told a Geneva news conference.

News of the compromise is music to the ears of the election community, who had feared the impact of a US withdrawal on military and overseas ballots from across the globe. Here’s hoping this puts postal concerns in the rear view mirror in the 2020 election and beyond. Stay tuned …

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