US Officially Revokes Intent To Withdraw From Postal Union

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In a drop by with the President of the United States Donald J. Trump, held in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on 15 October, the Director General of the Universal Postal Union Bishar A. Hussein proudly displayed the letter revoking the United States’ decision to withdraw from the UN specialized agency for postal matters.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Hussein thanked President Trump for his warm welcome and generous hospitality. He said, “I am convinced that the maintenance of the worldwide postal system is a victory for everyone on this planet.”

“It is to the great credit of the United States of America, and in particular, the Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Dr Peter Navarro; the delegations of many other countries; and my negotiating team that we managed to find a compromise,” Mr Hussein added. 

Dated 10 October 2019, the letter addressed to Mr Hussein states, “Accordingly, the denunciation shall not take effect and the United States shall remain a party to the UPU Constitution and a member of the Universal Postal Union.” Article 12 of the UPU Constitution states, “Each member country may withdraw from the Union by notice of denunciation of the Constitution given by the government of the country concerned.”

On 17 October 2018, the UPU received a letter of denunciation from the United States, which, had it not been revoked, would have come into effect one year after the day on which it was received.

In a 25 September agreement at the UPU’s third Extraordinary Congress in Geneva, Switzerland, member countries decided to accelerate rate increases to the system for remunerating the delivery of inbound international bulky letters and small packets, also known as the remuneration rate system. Self-declared rates are to be phased-in starting as soon as 2020.

Under the agreed solution, member countries that meet certain requirements – including inbound letter-post volumes in excess of 75,000 metric tonnes – would be able to opt-in to self-declare their rates starting 1 July 2020. Thresholds are included to protect low-volume, developing countries from the impact of the swift reform.

In his opening speech at the Geneva Congress, on 24 September, Mr Hussein said, “I call on all of you in the name of this historical Union to find the courage to choose the right path not just for yourselves, but for the entire industry.”

The postal remuneration system ensures that posts are compensated for the cost of handling, transporting and delivering bulky letters and small packets across borders. Several countries, including the United States, had raised concerns about the system arguing that it failed to provide cost coverage and led to market distortions