GENEVA — After days of round-the-clock negotiations, more than 130 member countries of the global postal body agreed by unanimous consensus Wednesday during an emergency meeting to a compromise deal that fundamentally alters the rating policies of the agency and has averted the nightmare scenario for global e-commerce of the U.S. leaving the organization, as it had threatened.
The deal allows the U.S. to self-declare and increase rates beginning July 1, 2020.
“With this new agreement, the United States will remain a member,” Peter Navarro, trade adviser to the President, and chief U.S. negotiator in the emergency Universal Postal Union Congress talks, told reporters.
UPU Secretary General Bishar A. Hussein, during a press conference following the session, said, “Today is a historical moment, where we have averted the possible exit of one of our member countries and, of course, many other disappointed countries.”
The compromise deal allows the UPU to accelerate rate increases to the system used to remunerate the delivery of inbound international bulky letters and small packets, phasing in self-declared rates starting as soon as 2020.
Under the agreed solution, UPU said, member countries that meet certain requirements — including inbound letter-post volumes in excess of 75,000 metric tons based on 2018 data — would be able to opt-in to self-declare their rates starting July 1.
Navarro said the measures agreed “provide the United States with the ability to immediately self-declare its postal rates and thereby cover its costs — the linchpin of President Trump’s objectives. This agreement will also transform an antiquated, discriminatory system into a modern and resilient one far more prepared to meet the new demands of e-commerce and the increasing challenges of counterfeit goods and drugs such as fentanyl now moving like poison through the international mail system.”
Navarro also noted that inbound packets shipped from China by post will go up.
He said studies show the size of the subsidy to the Chinese “is very significant. Depending how much it weighs, it can be as much as $10 per packet if its more towards the 2.2 kilo gram size.…There’s no question that their rates will go up, as they should.”
Pressed on whether U.S. consumers will pay more, Navarro said, “There will be no change in shipping rates.”