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EBay, FedEx, relieved US agrees to remain in postal union

Brittany De Lea

Retailers and shippers expressed relief at the White House’s decision to remain a member of the 145-year-old Universal Postal Union on Wednesday, after the Trump administration repeatedly threatened to leave the group over antiquated shipping rates.

E-commerce company eBay had warned that if the United States left the group, shipping rates could have increased have dramatically. To be sure, discrepancies among payments required from different countries is one of the issues that angered U.S. leadership.

The company, however, praised the progress made during the third so-called Extraordinary Congress meeting of the postal union this week, which placated U.S. concerns.

“EBay applauds the United States and numerous members of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) for coming together on an agreement and avoiding disruptions to the global mail system for small businesses and consumers,” a spokesperson for the company said in a prepared statement. “The agreement comes at a critical time when shippers need stability ahead of the upcoming holiday season.”

FedEx also lauded the group’s efforts toward addressing the U.S. concerns that led to the convening of the congress, while encouraging the postal union to “continue reform efforts.”

The International Mailers Group, which represents companies like Amazon, Shopify and DHL eCommerce, said in a statement the agreement will allow mailers and shippers to continue on with “no interruption in service through the critical holiday season and beyond.”

Top White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said in a statement on Wednesday that postal union members agreed to adopt a comprehensive set of reforms based on U.S. proposals.

Among them, according to Navarro, is the ability of the U.S. to immediately self-declare its postal rates.

Last month, Navarro explained during an interview with FOX Business that the postal union's rate structure was causing the U.S. Postal Service to lose money on international letters and packages, particularly from countries like China.

The United Postal Union was established in 1874, and is now an agency of the United Nations, with the goal of setting rules for international mail exchanges.

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