Can you recall when stamp politics meant that picture of Che Guevara? Back then serious postal politics were mandates for technical experts. Now nothing is immune to the worst politics; forget mere technical expertise. So the United States came within a hair's width of withdrawing from the UPU. It would be unbelievable, except for everything else.
With negotiators desperate, the United States agreed "to stay in a United Nations body that has regulated international mail service for more than a century after delegates agreed during emergency talks to change the way postal fees are structured. The Trump administration had threatened to leave the body, the Universal Postal Union, after Oct. 17 if its members did not change the system of fees that postal services charge for collection and delivery of international mail and small parcels."
I suppose one should be grateful. It must have been frightful for the poor folks in Bern. Even if one likes the negotiation outcome, there has to be a better way.
An interesting article indeed. This is another instance of China playing both sides, i.e. still taking advantage of its status as an officially "developing country" but clearly having grown past that, and yet unwilling to let go of the associated perks. Such rule exceptions exist in most international bodies and this is a broad problem. I understand the U.S. wanting to level the playing field, fair enough, but the goal should have been to get China to no longer being able to claim the "developing economy" exception treatment, not to demand a separate exception for the U.S. themselves. Let's hope the reached compromise will work out in the long run.
"All science is either physics or stamp collecting" -- Ernest Rutherford.
I am a long-time supporter of the concept the UPU represents - it's what keeps the mails moving despite everything else that is going on in the world. Nevertheless, I support the U.S. action in threatening to withdraw from the UPU. The policies regarding developing countries, as properly cited by hrdoktorx, have become unbalanced and need to be re-visited.
As an example of the imbalance: I recently needed to buy a specialty battery for an old camera I have. The battery was available from one supplier in the U.S. and a few suppliers in China. The price for the battery from the U.S. supplier was about $1.00 cheaper than from any supplier in China. With postage costs, however, it was about $5.00 cheaper for me to purchase the battery from a Chinese supplier - and that was with the U.S. supplier using regular mail and the Chinese supplier using registered mail. People in China can send registered mail to the U.S. for less than the US equivalent of $3.00 while people in the U.S. must pay a minimum of $16.00 to send registered mail to China. Obviously, something is wrong with a system that allows mail to be shipped from a modern and developed country halfway around the world at a lesser cost than to have mail shipped from within the local country.
Hopefully, the UPU will resolve the issue in a reasonable manner.
Swedish doves commemorating the Stockholm UPU plenary in July-August 1924, Facit 223-25. My impression is it was a tense meeting; not much was accomplished. But the stamps are fun. Courtesy of my favorite stamp designer, Professor Olle Hjortzberg. The tiny train and ship are irresistible and comic, presaging President Roosevelt's slightly irritating obsession with completely serious tiny design elements. These were the high value end of the set, unusual today canceled, and since the basic use was large parcels, especially uncommon with nice cancels.
Indulge my wistfulness; back in 1949, when every country seemed to be commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of its founding and technical cooperation looked to be the way to go. Especially after wars, it must have been wonderfully reassuring to imagine yet more UPU doves delivering the post. Here even the United States caught the wave; Scott C42-44. Understandable in the year of the establishment of NATO and just a few months after the completion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Interesting times, when the post moves to the top of the global agenda. Who saw that coming?
President Trump’s Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy emphasizes reform of the UPU as the Administration's greatest negotiating accomplishment. This is not unreasonable, when the rest is unilateral actions, sanctions, withdrawals from international organizations, abrogations of arms control agreements, and trade negotiations that end pretty close to those they replace. Call it the mouse that roared. What the other 191 UPU States Parties think is another matter.
In his words: Peter Navarro, ‘Peter Navarro: The Trump Guide to Diplomacy', New York Times, 15 October 2019. 'The United States recently scored a historic victory when it overhauled a 145-year-old international organization, the Universal Postal Union, whose outdated policies were undermining American interests. This week, the White House will celebrate that deal with the union’s director general, Bishar Hussein, who will receive formal notice that the United States will remain in the organization. This is a big deal — the union, founded in 1874, coordinates international mail delivery; when you get a postcard from your cousin traveling in France, you have the union to thank.’
The settlement is not a return to the pagan days before 1874; reciprocity remains unchanged on most international transfer fees and delivery charges. But the terms for small parcels give more latitude to recipient states. They now can unilaterally adjust terminal dues for small parcels. That is, America can make Chinese shippers pay more to send me plastic crud. The net change is much smaller than the fireworks promised. It’s typical Trump Administration neogitating; threaten to destroy everything, then settle for something just above the other side’s comfort zone.
Post by mikeclevenger on Jan 31, 2020 12:25:03 GMT
I believe the mail rates are extremely unfair though out the world. I priced a 2032 battery (Watch Battery) on Ebay. I found an energizer battery form florida for $1.17 including shipping. Then I found a pack of 5 from China for $1.20 including shipping from China. But pricing from UK is $5.20 for the battery and $5.20 shipping. How are these shipping prices fair. I can buy most things from China, with shipping, it costs less than just the shipping cost from one state away in the US. But I can never buy anything from the UK because the shipping cost is just way too much. Someone in the UK has some stock pages I would like to have, but the shipping prevents them being affordable.
Post by Beryllium Guy on Jan 31, 2020 13:03:21 GMT
Mike (mikeclevenger), please PM me the details about the stock pages you want. If I can get them here in the UK to avoid shipping costs, I can bring them to the US and ship them to you via a USPS fixed-rate box or mailing flat. I am coming back to the US in April for about 10 days.
Let me know!
APS Life Member #195356
"It is our choices .... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
-Albus Dumbledore from "Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling
I believe the mail rates are extremely unfair though out the world.
That's not accidental; all about trade policy goals. In the 1960s and 70s when Europeans were dropping colonial trade preferences, there was a danger former colonies would be unable to export. To compensate, UPU Terminal Dues were adjusted to support exports from small business in developing countries.
Subsidizing Terminal Dues remains popular with a lot of wealthy countries, where it counts toward the 0.7 per cent of GDP foreign aid goal. In the US, where foreign aid never caught on, the system never was popular. But it is in France, Portugal, Spain and the UK; it benefits their former colonies and reduces pressure for migration.
But how to adjust for successful developing countries, China especially? The issue picked up around 2014, when China Post began promoting small parcel exports. The Trump administration formula helps equalize things, but less than I assume they wanted. There still is a tale to be told.
Below: Burkina Faso loves UPU Terminal Dues adjustments, I'm guessing.