UN Postal Union Member Countries Reach Unanimous Agreement on Postal Remuneration Rates


This is a follow-up to our post U.S. Withdrawal From U.N. Postal Union Will Interrupt/Eliminate U.S. Diplomatic Post Office Deliveries.  The Universal Postal Union is a UN specialized agency with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne. Established in 1874, it is one of the world’s oldest international organizations and is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players.

On September 25, UN/UPU announced that its member countries have reached an agreement on international remuneration rates on the second day of the Geneva meeting. This agreement will see the UPU accelerate rate increases to the system used to remunerate the delivery of inbound international bulky letters and small packets, phasing in self-declared rates starting as soon as 2020. Excerpt below:

Under the agreed solution, member countries that meet certain requirements – including inbound letter-post volumes in excess of 75,000 metric tons based on 2018 data – would be able to opt-in to self-declare their rates starting 1 July 2020.

The decision also includes thresholds to protect low-volume, developing countries from the impact of the swift reform.

Speaking of the decision, the UPU Director for Policy, Regulation and Markets Siva Somasundram said, “This is a landmark decision for multilateralism and the Union. The Geneva Extraordinary Congress has shown that 192 countries can reach solutions on complex issues by acclamation.”

The postal remuneration system, also known as the terminal dues system, ensures that Posts are compensated for the cost of handling, transporting and delivering bulky letters and small packets across borders. Member countries agreed on the current system during the 2016 Universal Postal Congress in Istanbul.

On October 17, 2018, the US sent the UPU a letter of withdrawal, but stated that they would not do so if a solution to the remuneration rates system was found.

One of the UPU’s governing bodies, the Council of Administration, fast-tracked discussions on changes to the remuneration system. In June 2019, member countries voted by postal ballot to hold a third Extraordinary Congress to decide on the proposed changes.



USPS Goes Batty Over Lithium Batteries for Overseas Shipment

Via Stars and Stripes

If you’re a service member overseas planning to order the latest smartphone or laptop from the United States, take a second look at your options.

Effective May 16 [Wednesday], new U.S. Postal Service restrictions will ban air shipping of any electronics containing lithium batteries — such as iPads, smartphones and digital cameras — between the United States and overseas locations.

The ban affects hundreds of thousands of service members, foreign service officers and their families who rely on military and diplomatic post office addresses to receive packages.

Consumer electronics affected under new restrictions (via Stars and Stripes):

  •      Digital cameras
  •      Video cameras
  •      Laptop computers
  •      Tablets
  •      MP3 players
  •      Scanners
  •      Cell phones/smart phones
  •      GPS devices
  •      Radio-controlled toys
  •      Blue-tooth headsets
  •      Walkie-talkies/two-way radios
  •      Power drills
  •      Portable DVD players
  •      Electric shavers
  •      Electric health measuring devices, such as a blood-pressure monitor

Read in full here from the Stars and Stripes.

Lithium Battery1

Lithium Battery1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is part of the notice from the US Postal Service:

Starting May 16, lithium batteries and electronic devices containing lithium batteries will be prohibited from being mailed internationally. They also will not be allowed in shipments to or from Army Post Offices, Fleet Post Offices and Diplomatic Post Offices.

Lithium batteries already are prohibited in mail shipments on international commercial air transportation under International Civil Aviation Organization and Universal Postal Union regulations.

Shippers and mailers are advised that:

  • Lithium batteries must be removed from electronic devices to be shipped in international or overseas military mail before the package is submitted for mailing.
  • Electronic equipment with non-removable lithium batteries may not be shipped using international or overseas military mail.
  • USPS retail associates will begin asking Post Office customers whether lithium batteries are in any international shipments that have batteries or electronic equipment declared as contents on customs labels.

The new regulation will not/not apply to packages containing lithium batteries or electronic devices mailed within the U.S. on domestic commercial air or ground transportation.

According to the Postal Service, international standards have recently been the subject of discussion by the International Civil Aviation Organiza­tion (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU), and the Postal Service anticipates that on January 1, 2013, cus­tomers will be able to mail specific quantities of lithium bat­teries internationally (including to and from an APO, FPO, or DPO location) when the batteries are properly installed in the personal electronic devices they are intended to operate.

“Until such time that a less restrictive policy can be implemented consistent with international standards, and in accordance with UPU Convention, lithium batteries are not permitted in international mail.”
Domani Spero