More than half the 192-country body voted to approve “option V,” which will allow the U.S. to raise prices for packages from other countries. For its part, the U.S. will pay into the organization’s “voluntary fund,” which covers security and pensions for its almost 200 employees. Other countries can also adjust prices on U.S. inbound packages next July and on packages from other areas by set amounts each year.
“By remaining in the UPU, the United States retains its important leadership role in the global postal system,” Kate Muth, executive director of International Mailers Advisory Group, said, according to CNBC. “Mailers and shippers will see no interruption in service through the critical holiday season and beyond.
Most of the changes would apply to letters and packages under 4.4 pounds, sent internationally, which will include military mail, absentee ballots, retail catalogs, trade journals and lightweight eCommerce purchases.
“The U.S. consumer would certainly see a higher outbound package price. For inbound packages, a foreign company might indeed just say, ‘We’re going to have to charge a delivery charge,’” said Merry Law, president of WorldVu. “I already know mailers who are making other plans.”
It’s no surprise that companies like eBay, Etsy, Amazon and Alibaba have raised concerns about the move.
“We will have our sellers’ backs regardless of the outcome and work to implement a solution to that they can continue serving buyers around the world,” Etsy’s head of global shipping, Roman Sobieri, said in a statement to CNBC.
But the U.S. Postal Service will face the biggest impact because its annual finances depend on what it pays other countries and what it receives in return for its services.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service voiced the agency’s support of the Trump administration’s actions, but declined to answer whether the organization would lose money as a result.