US Agrees To Stay In Universal Postal Union After Rate Reform Deal

September 27, 2019

This week, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) held an emergency meeting in Geneva, Switzerland in an attempt to prevent the United States from withdrawing from the organization. At issue for the US was the outdated and unfair rate setting system for international mail that gave certain countries advantages over others. Under that system, it can be cheaper to mail a small parcel from another country to the United States than it is to mail it between two US cities. Had the US withdrawn from the UPU, there would have been a huge breakdown in the international mail system, and global mail delivery into and out of the United States could have come to a complete halt. All of this would have happened right before the all-important holiday season.

The deal struck this week will allow the US, as well as other countries if they choose to opt-in, to set its own rates for delivering small parcels from other countries. These rates will go into effect in July of 2020. Other countries will start phasing in higher rates over five years, starting in January 2021. This compromise solution puts the world on a path to a fairer rate system for international mail delivery. Just as importantly, it allows the US to remain in the UPU and avoids the chaos that could have resulted from US withdrawal.

eBay small business sellers in the US and around the world rely on the global mail system to reach customers across the globe. As such, eBay was proud to take an active role in engaging on this issue and working towards a compromise solution. Thank you to the entire eBay Mainstreet community for your engagement on this important issue.