Postal representatives from more than 100 countries are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland to make sure that a global mail regulatory body remains in place, according to a report by CNBC.
France’s chief postal negotiator, Jean-Paul Forceville, said there’s a good chance a compromise will be reached to keep the 144-year-old Universal Postal Union (UPU) running. The meeting was called because the U.S. wants to raise the amount it charges other countries for package delivery.
In postal terms, this is called “self declare.” The person leading the push is Peter Navarro from the White House, who said that a larger barrier to entry would help to move demand of inexpensive products made in China to better ones made in the U.S.
“Donald Trump is taking action to address this disparity, which costs the USPS and American consumers millions of dollars each year,” Navarro said.
To make sure the changes happened in a timely manner, the U.S. said it was going to withdraw from the UPU by the end of the year. Because of that, the UPU got an “extraordinary Congress” together this week to talk about what the U.S. was proposing, and what would happen if the country left.
“I think we know why we are here,” said the Kenyan delegate from Posta Kenya, without mentioning the United States by name.
The center of the issue lies in what are called terminal dues, which are the rates one member can charge another for a package that weighs less than 4.4 lbs. The White House wanted to allow all countries to set their own rates immediately, but the UPU rejected that notion.
The new compromise is to allow rates to fluctuate on a schedule that’s set in advance.
Not only U.S. importers, but domestic businesses as well could see costs go up, said Merry Law, president of WorldVu.
“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,’” Law told CNBC. “I already know mailers who are making other plans.”