UPU member countries reach unanimous agreement on postal remuneration rates
Member countries attending the Universal Postal Union’s third Extraordinary Congress today reached an agreement on international remuneration rates.
(Photo: Sophia Bennett)
“The UPU is as strong as it has always been,” said UPU Secretary General Bishar A. Hussein during a press conference following the session. “Today is an historical moment, where we have averted the possible exit of one of our member countries and, of course, many other disappointed countries.”
The decision, which took place during the second day of the Geneva meeting, will see the UPU 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. The Extraordinary Congress approved the proposal, known as “Option V,” by acclamation.
Speaking during the press conference, Assistant to the President of the United States and Director for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and head of the US delegation, Mr Peter Navarro, said, “Today a White House team working closely with the Director General of the Universal Postal Union and a broad coalition of friends and allies in the UPU has more than achieved the President’s goal.”
Under the agreed solution, 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 1 July 2020.
The decision also includes thresholds to protect low-volume, developing countries from the impact of the swift reform.
Speaking of the decision, the UPU Director for Policy, Regulation and Markets Siva Somasundram said, “This is a landmark decision for multilateralism and the Union. The Geneva Extraordinary Congress has shown that 192 countries can reach solutions on complex issues by acclamation.”
The postal remuneration system, also known as the terminal dues system, ensures that Posts are compensated for the cost of handling, transporting and delivering bulky letters and small packets across borders. Member countries agreed on the current system during the 2016 Universal Postal Congress in Istanbul.
On October 17, 2018, the US sent the UPU a letter of withdrawal, but stated that they would not do so if a solution to the remuneration rates system was found.
One of the UPU’s governing bodies, the Council of Administration, fast-tracked discussions on changes to the remuneration system. In June 2019, member countries voted by postal ballot to hold a third Extraordinary Congress to decide on the proposed changes.