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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue July 19 2016 22:21:15

Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Online sellers concerned that they are paying more to send a package to US shoppers than their Chinese counterparts have an opportunity to weigh in on the issue of international postal rates.

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) must review proposed UPU Terminal Dues rates for 2018 - 2021 and submit its view to the State Department, which oversees negotiations on international postal rates with other UN members. 

Terminal Dues are complicated and may not sound very exciting, but they are having an enormous impact on ecommerce in this country, and on small sellers in particular.

Shipping costs are huge issue for online sellers, and according to Pacific Standard magazine, "A comprehensive study by the research group Copenhagen Economics has found that the misalignment of terminal dues rates is leading online shoppers to order directly from countries with favorable UPU positions, rather than from suppliers closer to home  -  even if the price of the item itself is identical."

One expert believes the discount for the new proposed Terminal Dues rates for mail from Hong Kong, Singapore, and China will improve (from a US shipper's point of view) from the current level of about 70% to about 50% by 2021.

The PRC is seeking comments on both the general process and on specific rates, but you only have until 4:30 pm ET on July 21 (Thursday). Here's the docket on the PRC website. 

Your comments will be made publicly viewable on the PRC website, here are instructions on leaving a comment.

Look for more information in our coverage of UPU Terminal Dues in tomorrow (Wednesday's) Newsflash (available now).

Update 7/20/16: People have reported problems submitting a public comment on the PRC website. Here's one reader's description of the problem:

Following your directions I opened a temporary account this morning on the Postal Regulatory site. I completed the document and attempted to submit it. Three times I received the following error message:

Error
The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.

Mary Hanks, Dockets Assistant at the PRC, said one common problem is if you have special characters in the file name - make sure it doesn't include a comma, for example. (Also keep in mind you must submit all contact information when filing.)

Anyone who continues to have problems can call her at the main number, 202-789-6800, or her direct line at 202-789-6845. Mary is extremely friendly and helpful, so don't give up.

UPDATE 7/21/16: See today's Letter to the Editor for detailed information on posting a comment on the PRC website.



Comments (48) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy
       
Tue Jul 19 23:33:17 2016
I can't post on the ebay forums!

Has anyone posted this info over at selling aka seller central?
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: elcheapoposters This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Wed Jul 20 00:23:47 2016
I don't think much of this will matter at all in a year - Chinese products will come in by the container not just to the West Coast, but now, with the opening of the Panama Canal, expect a flooding of Chinese products to China Owned warehouses on the East Coast as well.

It's always been my opinion that the road to success is to become the source of the product ( ie: produce/manufacture something ).

Competing in a 'race to the bottom' where everyone is selling the same product, Chinese or not, only to cry foul when the manufacturer enters the same market you sell in isn't logical as competition from the source is inevitable.

Be thankful the market lasted as long as it did. What's that saying? ''Improvise, Adapt and Overcome''
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 00:30:32 2016
When did ebay ever listen to us.  So, they'll continue to give the Chinese free postage and the site will continue to be full of junk and they'll continue to wonder where all the good sellers are.  I gave up long ago, i just don't fall for childish stuff anymore.  I know as a seller, thankfully, i don't need ebay and as a buyer i only check out ebay when I can't find what i want on Amazon.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 00:39:35 2016
What we need is reasonable rates out of the USA. Why should it cost $12 to mail a CD to the UK? If we had the kind of rates China has to mail to us, we could be shipping so much stuff overseas, bringing money into the country and helping reduce the trade decefit
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: Postthoughts This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 01:24:27 2016
I purchased something from a Chinese seller.  They paid $18 to send it to the US with tracking and signature confirmation.  They sent the wrong item.  The cost for me to return it to China, with tracking, was almost $100. This was the same item they sent in the same package for only $18.  How is that fair?  This was not an ebay purchase.

I think it's unfair as a seller and  as a buyer, that I have to pay so much more for shipping to other countries than those countries have to pay for shipping items to us.

I will never buy anything from an overseas seller again.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: Bill This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 01:40:18 2016
I agree with thebobman the main problem is what it costs to ship out of the US.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: comet This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 02:15:56 2016
I  had a potential  buyer  from  Germany  today  write  to  me that he LOVED  my product--but  that  the SHIPPING   was  stopping  him  form  buying it.  I  have no idea how  MUCH  eBay is SHOWING  him  to  ship the item--and  of  course ebay  doesn't  want to  show  us  this--but  I went  and  looked  and  the cost is between  $22  and Infinity  apparently----surelky  more  than  the  $40  price  tag.  

So  I  asked  the  guy  to  text  me and maybe  we  can work  something  out.  Since  eBay  tries  to  force    us  to  use  Registered  and Insured  Priority Mail  International---which  in  this  case  would  be at  least  $60+---you  can  see  the  issue  here.  

Will  try  the  link--not  holding  breath  tho---
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: comet This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 02:20:02 2016
Well  that  was--Fun!   As  soon  as  I  get  out  of Law  School  I  will get  right  on  trying  to  use  that web  site  to  "File"  anything  telling  whoever is  asking  that  I  object to  these postage  rates. Read  like  one  of those  :User Agreements"  that  no  one  reads and  no  one  understands  and  no  one  could  possibly  defend  themselves  from.

Absurd--was  this meant  to be some  place where an ORDINARY CITIZEN could  actually  MAKE  THEIR VIEW  KNOWN????

Sheeeesh
 
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Wed Jul 20 02:48:46 2016
@patricia

What does Ebay have to do with the USPS postal rates for the Asian sellers?  Ebay is not giving them "free" postage.  You need to look to Congress for that.  You were / are upset with the WRONG entity.  

I respect your frustration about the Asian sellers on Ebay, they hurt many US sellers.  But the problem regarding the sweet deal they have with USPS has nothing to do with Ebay.

Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 03:32:54 2016
What i noticed is it cost about 13 bucks just to get in the door to ship something to china or anywhere else across the pond using simple postal service, but them to us is somehow free or nearly free as i'v bought stuff from china in the 2 to 10 dollar range with free shipping. I know that some companies take one for the team, but the sellers have hundreds of items so it does not make sense. This only applies to stuff that requires a customs form, simple letters are pretty cheap still.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 03:32:59 2016
I've been playing the Chinese game for quite awhile now and I don't think I'm the only one. I buy all kinds of chinese crap for $.01. Try to buy the biggest junk you can find because it will arrive in a big shipping envelope (dah free) They always leave excellent feedback immediately when paid - ebay LOVES good feedback. And you get some little junk - I look for crafty things - I'm a St Judes volunteer and we do some childrens events and I donate the things to the kids for crafts. So for $.01 I get great feedback - a free shipping envelope - and some little thing. I keep thinking I will drive them bankrupt but apparently those Chinese idiots keep making crap and shipping it over. Pashaw - and ebay wants me to buy shipping envelopes - ha!
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 04:43:50 2016
WE can't wait for the government to fix this mess.

We can only do what We can and not buy the stuff. I don't bother even trying international sales. The cist is prohibitive and I don't see anyone stepping up to the plate to absorb any of MY risk.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Wed Jul 20 06:50:27 2016
Maybe I'm skeptical, but I am guessing that these deals between USPS and China are made at a much higher level than the person(s) who is responsible for or who reads and makes note of the comments on the PRC website. Having people weigh in is no more than protocol (the "you spoke, we listed" bs)  

What I see in this day and age is that if you are a powerful organization or a behemoth retailer or business with connections to politicians you have a voice.  If not, forget it.  Call me jaded.

As Watching the Wheels stated--don't buy the stuff. I can't think of a better way to make a statement.  
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 06:58:11 2016
These smoke filled bar room deals are made by idiots that have no clue to what kind of hurt they are putting on Americans. They could care less as long as it lines their egos.

There is no end to the politicians stupidity and arrogance. Nothing will be done about this now or ever. One has to be a moron to even think that any american has a voice in anything anymore. Americans are lead around with nose rings. They vote as they are told.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: Miniac This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 07:59:50 2016
As one person, we are powerless. Perhaps ecommercebytes can present our case for equal postal rates with foreign countries. I can't get through the naming garbage on the PRC site.
For now, I CANNOT ship internationally. And I have little choice but to buy from China, since US manufacturers are running away due to government regulations.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Wed Jul 20 08:16:28 2016
Miniac reminds me of a thought that I have had many times. In this day of powerful social media, why haven't angry eBay sellers (the noise as we are called) organized and put pressure on eBay (and their board) to make change and also put pressure on the media to report sellers' grievances and expose eBay's questionable and unethical (one might say corrupt) business practices.  We need someone with the moxy, energy and gumption of Norma Rae to lead this effort.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: tradernick This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Wed Jul 20 08:38:03 2016
Filing a comment is unnecessarily difficult, the web site is cumbersome and unwieldy, just like the rest of our government.  Took me about 10 minutes following the directions (Thanks Ina), then I finally clicked to submit my comments and got this:

Error
The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.

Unbelievable  
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: XebayX This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 09:10:02 2016
Just a reminder about eBay's involvement in the PRC's implementation of the current e-packet rates.
These rates were proposed, implemented, and approved under former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, brother of the former eBay CEO John Donahoe.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 09:14:14 2016
You really need to take off your ''eBay blinders'' and recognize that the current lopsided deal with Chinese postage rates has absolutely nothing to do with eBay. Marie has it at least partially correct in that its government and not eBay that set the rates.

Problem is, it wasn't Congress either. The current rate deal that everyone is complaining about was set into place by none other than Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State (funny how the main stream press never addresses these types of back-room deals).

Lest you doubt this, do some research on the subject. For those of you that have been selling online (including eBay) since back around 2000 should stop and think when did the problem start? Try late 2010, when the current rate structure started to take effect.

Face the facts people: we now operate in a global economy and your primary competition is being shifted from the guy or gal next door to the guy in China. The US small business owner is under assault and our days may well be numbered. We're already competing with people that make 1/10th or less per hour than what is our current minimum wage in this country. Just imagine how many more jobs will be pushed overseas in this country if the minimum wage rate is doubled? For any of you that actually have employees, how many of you can truly afford to pay them 5, 6 or $7 more per hour and still remain competitive? How many people can you keep on if your wage costs go up 50, 75 or 100%?

Stop, think and pay attention people. We're in an economic war right now and we're losing ground day by day.
Perminate Link for Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China   Speak Now or Hold Your Peace on Low Postal Rates from China
by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 20 09:26:11 2016
One other little thought to consider: don't any of you find it the least bit "funny" that this story/issue comes to the forefront a mere 48 hours before the deadline to voice your opinions?
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