Update on U.S. Withdrawal from the Universal Postal Union

November 6, 2018

You may have heard recently that the United States has announced that it will be withdrawing from the Universal Postal Union (UPU). If so, you’re probably wondering what this announcement means for buyers and sellers on eBay. What follows is a quick overview.

The UPU is an international body, established in 1874, that is related to the United Nations (UN) and helps the postal services of countries throughout the world coordinate with each other to deliver goods, coordinate services, and more. The UPU also sets “terminal dues” rates, which are the rates charged by one country’s postal service to deliver goods (up to 4.4 pounds) from another country. In August the White House released a Presidential Memorandum noting that some of the terminal dues rates set by the UPU are too low and threatened “appropriate actions” if changes were not made. Following the UPU’s fall meeting to discuss rate changes and other policies, the White House released a statement in October announcing that the U.S. would file notice to withdraw from the UPU and adopt “self-declared” terminal dues rates by January 1, 2020. The process of withdrawing from the UPU will take one year, although the President could rescind the notice of withdrawal and decide to stay in the UPU if adequate changes are made. The process is still fluid.

The eBay Government Relations team is constantly advocating for policies that support the eBay community across the globe. We are working closely to see what impact a U.S. withdrawal from the UPU could have on eBay buyers and sellers, including any impact this action may have on rates and service, both for goods delivered into the U.S. and for goods from the U.S. delivered abroad. Check our blog regularly for updates.