WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today commended the Trump administration for securing an agreement with the United Nations’ Universal Postal Union (UPU) that puts an end to U.S. taxpayers being forced to subsidize international postal shipments from foreign countries to the United States. The new agreement allows the United States to self-declare the rates the U.S. Postal Service can recoup from foreign trading partners.
Previously, the UPU set the fee each member country must pay for a foreign postal service to deliver international mail. The flawed system to determine shipping rates, resulted in the United States effectively subsidizing exports from China and other nations delivered by mail. A 2017 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report stated that “the rates for inbound international terminal dues mail does not cover [USPS’s] costs for delivering that mail in the United States. As a result, USPS’s net losses on this type of mail more than doubled between 2012 and 2016.”
“American taxpayers were funding Chinese companies to outcompete ones here in the United States,” said Dr. Cassidy. “When it’s cheaper to ship a product to Shreveport from Bejing than from Baton Rouge, there’s a problem. This agreement is a victory for the United States. President Trump was right to stand his ground on this issue and it was a pleasure to support his effort.”
Cassidy was vocal in his support of action by the Trump administration during this process. He also wrote legislation to end the postal subsidies for Chinese businesses.
2018 timeline of Cassidy’s work to address unfair UPU-set rates:
- April 10 – Cassidy introduces the Ending Needless Delivery Subsidies (ENDS) Act.
- April 13 – Cassidy’s staff discusses the senator’s proposal with White House Congressional Affairs.
- April 27 – Cassidy demands the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) turn over information about the international shipping rates set by the U.N.’s Universal Postal Union (UPU).
- May 10 – Cassidy’s staff discusses the senator’s proposal with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), highlighting the ways UPU reform would benefit U.S. manufacturers in terms of trade.
- May 17 – Cassidy’s staff meets with USPS Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman to request terminal dues data and ask the USPS to stop keeping the rates secret.
- May 23 – Cassidy’s staff discusses the senator’s proposal with the State Department.
- June 5 – Cassidy’s staff discusses the senator’s proposal with White House officials, and urges executive action to change postal rates for foreign shippers.
- July 3 – Cassidy urges the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to put American workers first in any negotiations of terminal dues agreements during the UPU Extraordinary Congress in September.
- August 16 – Cassidy urges President Trump to take action on the issue.
- August 23 – Cassidy applauded President Trump’s memorandum in advance of the UPU’s Second Extraordinary Congress in Ethiopia.
- August 31 – Cassidy, along with Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and James Lankford (R-OK), and Representatives Kenny Marchant (R-TX) and Ralph Abraham (R-LA), urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to put “Americans first in any negotiations of terminal dues agreements.”