Letter to Dr. Peter Navarro: The UPU and Self-Declaration of Shipping Rates

By at 23 July, 2019, 2:58 pm

Dr. Peter Navarro

Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500


Dear Dr. Navarro:

As an advocate for the nation’s diverse and expansive small business community, I am writing you on behalf of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) to express our views regarding procedural steps that are currently in motion to establish fair international postal rates.

As you know, America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs are a vital and dynamic segment of our economy. They have endured competitive inequities with regard to international mailing and the pricing regimes of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). SBE Council has worked tirelessly on these issues, as U.S. entrepreneurs and small businesses are not competing on a level playing field with regard to our biggest international competitors – like China – and these low shipping rates paid by our overseas competitors also enable counterfeiting.

First and foremost, thank you for your work to end the unfair subsidies that have continually granted foreign businesses and manufacturers significant market advantages over U.S. small businesses. The discriminatory status quo on outdated international shipping rates undercuts American businesses.

To remedy these concerns the Universal Postal Union (UPU) has established a promising framework through the forthcoming Extraordinary Congress starting September 24th in Geneva, Switzerland. Among the proposals that can be considered for a vote by member nations, we trust that you are in agreement that there must be only one course of action that would rectify the competitive harms presented by the current system.

Provisions that will allow countries to charge self-declared rates on in-bound packets, with rates not higher than the domestic rate is the optimal path forward to promote fairness and undistorted competition.

It is our view that the presence of amendments to the proposal that suggest countries shall transition to self-declared rates (known as “Option B”) would severely impede the core objectives of  UPU deliberations. Developing equitable frameworks across nations and industries should remain an effort uncontaminated by the forces of narrow interest or special interests.

Resolving the underpriced and uncompetitive international rate structure will likewise be very helpful in addressing the USPS’ negative balances that result from in-bound shipments that fail to cover their high costs. Unfortunately, the agency has long been complicit in retaining the outdated and highly inappropriate subsidization model that erodes its own fiscal health.

Thank you for your consideration of our organization’s perspective on this critical issue, and for your leadership. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about our position or concerns about his matter.


Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO


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