On Sept. 24, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) will conduct perhaps its most consequential meeting in more than 100 years. The UPU, a global organization backed by a treaty that sets shipping rates from country to country, has a Congress that meets every four years. But an extraordinary Congress meeting of the full 192-country membership only meets when two-thirds of the members agree to do so.
The U.S. withdrawal from the UPU is the occasion for the third such meeting ever to be called.
The Trump administration announced its intention to withdraw from the UPU in October 2018, pending negotiations with the other members to form new bilateral and multilateral agreements.
The controversy around the UPU treaty, as it stands, swirls around the contention that the treaty makes it very easy and relatively cheap to ship any item under 4.4 pounds into the U.S. from developing countries — so much so that U.S.-based shippers sometimes can’t compete.
“This outdated arrangement contributes significantly to the flood of counterfeit goods and dangerous drugs that enter the country from China,” said National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons in a statement supporting the move back in October