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

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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: Marie

Thu Jul 21 17:27:13 2016

@mcposty

You are talking about two or maybe three COMPLETELY different subjects.

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: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 21 22:35:15 2016

Its all connected, ebay and amazon and etsy love chinese with their billion listings, they love that chinese ship free it means more money for 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: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 21 22:37:11 2016

As to us companies, they should figbt tooth and nail against free china shipping it means all that china labor is useless since china will undercut them anyways onlibe for pennies..noone can compete with a race of people who are ok to be slaves

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: Jono

Fri Jul 22 04:39:54 2016

Expensive shipping costs are ruining overseas trade in every country except China! It's not only the shipping cost but the extremly non transparent brick wall called CUSTOM CHARGES! They charge what they like & there's nothing you can do about it. You no loger have the right to refuse the goods as they bill you by post after you have received it. I bought a pocket scanner for $99 & was charged £60 custom charges! It's Disgusting!

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: RKTOYS

Sat Jul 23 08:35:30 2016

I did my part filing a comment.  Not even 20 comments altogether.  Guess their plan to conceal this right up until the deadline worked.  Did anybody read those word salad tomes submitted by UPS and FedEx?  If the PRC won't even read the single pages that small businesses sent, why would they think that would do any good?  Better to have stuffed a suitcase full of unmarked bills in my opinion.

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

Tue Jul 26 02:54:11 2016

@mcposty

While the subjects are connected to what you describe, so do many other aspects.  But they aren't what this article is about.  You are trying to bring things to the table that aren't specifically what this article and blog is about.

I do however respectfully disagree Ebay or the sites make more money with the way the postal rates are currently.  That doesn't seem logical to me.  If the Asian sellers were made to pay the same or similar rates that we do domestically, they would have to raise their prices.  With higher prices comes higher fees.  With higher fees comes more income for whatever site the products are being purchased from.

And if the Asian market finds it too expensive to ship to the USA, then USA sellers would pick up the slack and the sales.  Again, the host sites would make more money in fees.  

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: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 26 09:53:49 2016

As usual, the little guys and gals are getting screwed not by China, but by our own corrupt Government leaders who are all getting paid off.

Like Trump says- they are making nothing but bad deals. The system is rigged.  

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: epuise

Tue Jul 26 13:08:44 2016

WHY 50%... let the Chinese pay FULL POSTAGE COSTS... IF they want to ship CHEAP... they can load up CONTAINERS & WHOLESALE to US (etc) SELLERS, like the good old days.

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