The Universal Postal Union Explained

August 12, 2019

Whether you’re buying or selling on eBay, you’ve probably sent or received something through the mail that traveled through another country. After all, connecting 180 million buyers and sellers around the world is one of the best things about eBay. While using eBay may be simple, the international mail system is not. It is a complex network of data, payments, regulations, and communication that helps eBay purchases get from point A to point B.

This whole complex system is facilitated by an organization most people have probably never heard of- the Universal Postal Union, or the UPU. This body was set up almost 150 years ago to help postal operators all around the world communicate and operate with each other. Another thing the UPU does is set the rates that countries charge each other for mail delivery. For a long time, the UPU rate system worked well, but recently it has become more and more unfair for certain mail users. For example, in some cases, someone sending a package from another country to the US may pay less than it costs to ship the same package WITHIN the US.

As a result of this unfair rate system, the US government announced that it is going to withdraw from the UPU. If the US moves forward with this withdrawal plan, it could mean big trouble for anyone who sends or receives mail or packages internationally.

Luckily, there is a chance for the UPU to reform its rates before the US withdraws. The US government is currently pushing rate reform to encourage the UPU to change the current system. If that works, the US would likely remain in the UPU, and rates would be set more fairly.

Rest assured that your eBay Government Relations team is working hard to ensure that eBay customers can continue to take advantage of the global marketplace using a postal system that is fair and effective for all.