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The USPS Position on Terminal Dues

You’ve seen us write about the issue of Terminal Dues of late, which is what postal services around the world charge each other for last-mile delivery. The issue is important, since some overseas merchants may pay less than domestic merchants to ship to US consumers, seen as harmful to small businesses in the United States.

The issue is also timely – urgent, even – because the US only has a short time before the Universal Postal Union will set Terminal Dues rates for the years 2018 – 2021.

The Department of State has been negotiating the rates with the UPU and, as required by law, has sought the view of the Postal Regulatory Commission.

But what does the USPS think of the proposed rates?

Lea Emerson, USPS Executive Director of International Postal Affairs, explained that the final position of the United States will be determined by the Department of State after considering the Postal Regulatory Commission’s view.

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The proposed terminal dues rates the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) is reviewing are the rates which were approved by the 41 members of the Council of Administration (CA) and 40 members of the Postal Operations Council (POC) in February 2016 for submission to the 26th UPU Congress scheduled for September in Istanbul, she explained.

“The United States supported the terminal dues proposal package at the February meetings of the Postal Operations Council and the Council of Administration as a compromise proposal that greatly improves cost coverage, especially for the packet-shaped items,” she said.

Will the proposed terminal dues rates for 2018 – 2021 cover the costs the USPS will incur, we asked Emerson? “Yes,” she said, “we expect costs to be covered by the new, proposed system under the proposals of the Postal Operations Council and the Council of Administration.”

Note: You can also read the USPS filing in response to the PRC’s request for comments.

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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.