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USPS Renegotiates with China Post on ePacket Rates

The USPS has confirmed it has renegotiated ePacket rates with China Post. Spokesperson Darlene Casey said the bilateral agreement with China Post became effective on October 1st and provides for additional compensation for inbound ePackets originating in China.

ePacket allows Chinese companies to send lightweight purchases (a maximum weight of 4.4 lbs or 2 kg) to US customers with tracking. US sellers say in many cases, it costs the Chinese firm less money using ePacket than it would cost them to reach the same US buyer. Amazon pressed Congress to take a look at the issue in June.

While Casey confirmed new rates had been negotiated, she declined to disclose specifics because “it is commercially sensitive information of the USPS and China Post.”

While it appears this could be good news if ePacket rates are higher, USPS has said it doesn’t have much leverage in negotiations.

We asked if the rate change was only with China or with all countries that participate in ePackets. “Other postal operators also have agreed to pay to have scanning with delivery epackets, but not all countries elect to participate in this system of additional compensation for inbound epackets originating in their countries as they may not wish to offer delivery scanning to their customers,” Casey said.

“The countries that have ePacket agreements with USPS are China, Hong Kong and Korea Post. We are unable to disclose rate information as it is commercially sensitive information of the USPS and foreign postal operators.”

Casey also confirmed that effective October 1, 2015, scanning and tracking services, also known as “visibility,” will no longer be offered for import International Registered Mail, just as those services are not offered for international First-Class Mail.

Casey said many international Posts and postal operators have upgraded to offer their customers U.S. Postal Service products that offer scanning and tracking services. They are listed on this FAQ on the USPS website.

“The international Posts/postal operators which have not yet upgraded are encouraged to offer their customers U.S. Postal Service products that feature scanning and tracking services, including ePacket, or PRIME Express, or Import Priority Mail Express International (PMEI) or Priority Mail International (PMI).”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.