About the Issue

What is the UPU?

For more than 145 years, the Universal Postal Union has set the rules for international mail delivery. Currently, as a branch of the United Nations, it oversees multilateral cooperate between its 192 member nations on international postal issues.

The UPU manages international delivery rates between countries and sets standards for the global postal network’s operations, payment, service quality, and data sharing.

Withdrawing from the UPU would be harmful to US-based small businesses

By facilitating mail delivery between countries, the UPU allows small online businesses to compete with large retailers and sell around the world with minimal complications.

Frustrated with China not paying fair rates, the United States is currently planning to withdraw from the UPU on October 17, 2019 unless the UPU votes to reform its rate structure at its next meeting on September 24, 2019. If the US no longer participated in the UPU, small retailers may not be able to ship packages outside of the country using the US Postal Service.

Many small business owners are already pinched by razor-thin profit margins and have little room for more overhead spending. Losing access to the global market simply isn’t an option for small businesses selling online.

This Is More Than Just a Small Business Issue

Withdrawing from the UPU will result in the US Postal Service losing its access to postal customs clearance around the world. This means that delivering mail and small parcels into or out of the US becomes rather complicated.

The US would have to negotiate bilateral agreements on pricing with all 191 other UPU members or contract with a private carrier just to handle international mail and shipping.

The UPU could also vote to reform rates, which would result in global price increases as other countries reciprocate the US rates. Mail would still go through the international postal system in this scenario, but the costs would grow significantly.

Let’s Take a Stand

WE R HERE supports making China pay fair rates, but we oppose withdrawing from the UPU because of the dire consequences that small businesses would face. We agree that the current rate-setting system is in need of a reform, but a withdrawal is an unnecessary overreaction.

Join us to help protect small businesses as they continue to create jobs and enrich local economies around the country.