US to remain in international postal union after deal reached

The Trump administration on Wednesday reached a deal with the United Nations agency coordinating postal systems around the world, meaning it is now expected to remain in the union that it had been threatening to leave over the past year.

Reuters reported that a deal was announced at the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) emergency session of congress on Wednesday that will allow the U.S. and other countries that import large quantities of mail from other countries to impose “self-declared rates” on distribution of mail from foreign countries.

{mosads}The Trump administration had argued for months to be allowed by the UPU to charge greater rates to distribute mail imported from outside of the U.S., which it argued was necessary thanks to the rise of e-commerce sites.

Had the administration quit the UPU, U.S. stamps would no longer have been valid abroad and the U.S. mail system would have been disrupted in what one UPU official described to The Guardian as a “nightmare scenario.” The Trump administration was threatening to leave by October if a deal was not reached.

“If the United States leaves, you’ll get those piles, because somehow every country has to figure out how to send mail to the United States … A major disruption is on the way if we don’t solve the problem today,” said UPU secretary-general Bishar Hussein.

“A departure of the United States from the union would mean there is a total disruption of the service to the country,” he added on Tuesday.

The U.S. delegation in charge of renegotiating the rates was headed by trade adviser Peter Navarro, who told the UPU recently that e-commerce had broken the global postal system.

“The mission here today is to retool this system for the brave new world of e-commerce,” he said, adding that it was time to mend a system “that everyone in this room knows is broken.”

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