Texas Congressman Kenny Marchant has introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that directs the U.S. Secretary of State and Postal Service to address inequities in delivery charges for small package shipments to consumers in the U.S., particularly deliveries originating internationally such as from China.
The rates are determined every four years in negotiations conducted by the State Department under the auspices of the Universal Postal Union, which regulates cross-border postal charges by international agreement.
Under international treaty, merchants overseas, with most operating out of China, can ship packages weighing less than two kilograms, or 4.4 pounds, to consumers in the U.S. through the Postal Service at rates less than those charged American merchants shipping such goods within the country.
The bill proposes to amend title 39 of the U.S. Code and require the U.S. Postal Service to establish rates for delivery of inbound international mail that don’t discriminate between foreign and domestic mailers, as well as to review foreign practices with respect to the exchange of e-commerce goods with the U.S.
As part of the review of foreign practices regarding e-commerce goods, the bill proposes that the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and related federal agencies, submit a report to the President and Congress regarding subsidies and laws countries might administer that provide their merchants an unfair advantage in e-commerce trading or unfairly disadvantage U.S. merchants as a prelude to remedial action.
Recently, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to address what some American businesses believe is an advantage overseas manufacturers and distributors have in shipping small packages under 4.4 pounds.
HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® explored the UPU and small package delivery issues in the March 5 issue and how it was impacting the housewares industry. HomeWorld spoke with government officials, housewares industry representatives, including from the International Housewares Association, and observers to outline what is happening regarding small package shipping, and how the global postal network gives manufacturers, particularly in China, an edge on businesses based in the U.S. that ship small packages.
Click here for the complete HomeWorld March 5th special report.