World postal union rejects Trump’s favoured reform plan

GENEVA — In a showdown Tuesday at a Universal Postal Union meeting, countries rejected the Trump administration’s favoured approach to an international mail problem that is making the U.S. consider leaving the 145-year-old body.

The meeting in Geneva this week is shaping up as a test of the Trump administration’s diplomatic clout. Trump trade envoy Peter Navarro appealed “personally” on Tuesday’s opening day of the emergency meeting for countries to support Washington’s reform push.

The UPU’s “extraordinary congress” is only the third since the 192-member intergovernmental body was created in 1874 to smooth international mail deliveries.

The Trump administration insists that some postal carriers, such as China’s, aren’t paying enough to have foreign shipments delivered to U.S. recipients and argues the current international mail system is ill-suited for the 21st-century boom in shipping because of e-commerce.

“The mission here today is to retool this system for the brave new world of e-commerce,” Navarro said in brief remarks to delegates. “As we say in America, ‘You know what to do.”’

The complaint centres on the reimbursement that the U.S. Postal Service receives for providing final deliveries of bulky letters and small parcels sent from abroad, usually ones not weighing more than 2 kilograms (about 4 1/2 pounds). Such mail can often include mobile phones, memory sticks or pharmaceuticals.

The 144 UPU members on hand rejected — in a 78-57 vote, with nine abstentions — a plan that Navarro called the preferred U.S. option. That would have immediately set up “self-declared rates” for reimbursement.

Another proposal, a phased approach to such self-declared rates, comes up Wednesday and is the only possible outcome that the United States would support at the meeting. A rejection could drive the Trump administration to quit the union as threatened on Oct. 17.

UPU Secretary General Bishar Hussein of Kenya said he was “very optimistic” a deal could be reached. He said he hoped the United States wouldn’t leave, warning that it would be forced to strike bilateral deals with other UPU countries — and huge mail backlogs could be the outcome.

“If United States leaves, you will get those piles (of mail) you are talking about for sure, because somehow every country has to figure out how to send mail to the United States — ‘cause the traditional system will completely shut down,” Hussein said in response to a reporter’s question at a news conference.

Navarro’s participation has added a political heavyweight to the gathering, which mostly involves civil servants.

He said under the existing system, the United States is forced to “heavily subsidize” the importation of small parcels “in a way that costs our Postal Service hundreds of millions of dollars a year and costs our economy tens of thousands of jobs.”

He said “no reasonable person” could support the existing reimbursement system.

Navarro also referenced his White House responsibilities, saying he’s been involved in trade negotiations with a half-dozen Western countries and helped to promote the defence of another half dozen.

“From this broader perspective, I am personally asking you to support the United States position,” Navarro said. “In times like these, where no reasonable person could support the terminal dues system, this is what friends and allies do for each other.”

A Chinese representative said her country opposed the option backed by the United States that was defeated Tuesday.

Just Posted

Municipal councils looking for savings as provincial cuts loom

Innisfail town council freezes its pay and Lacombe considering 0% tax increase

Red Deer RCMP bait bike project results in charges

Several people were charged after Red Deer RCMP’s first bait bike project.… Continue reading

Westerner Park ‘needs to be in front’ of changing industry, says new CEO

The new CEO of Westerner Park says the organization needs to focus… Continue reading

Central Alberta women are fleeing from more dangerous domestic violence

‘It’s tremendously concerning,’ says shelter director

Canola producers want more biofuel included in diesel

Boosting biofuel requirements would increase canola demand hurt by China trade barriers

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

Former Vancouver Canucks defenceman Jason Garrison sues financial adviser

VANCOUVER — A former National Hockey League defenceman is suing his financial… Continue reading

Indigenous conference to build understanding and community

Community members are invited to join the Red Deer Native Friendship Society… Continue reading

Quarterback Cody Fajardo practices with Saskatchewan Roughriders No. 1 offence

REGINA — Cody Fajardo was back practising with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on… Continue reading

Home Capital shares up as Q3 earnings rise, mortgage originations up

TORONTO — Home Capital Group Inc. shares surged Wednesday after the company… Continue reading

Bell, big cable networks ask government to overrule CRTC on wholesale rates

TORONTO — Canada’s largest telecommunications companies formally asked the federal cabinet on… Continue reading

‘The Social’ cast member Jessica Allen clarifies Cherry comments

TORONTO — A correspondent on the Canadian daytime talk show “The Social”… Continue reading

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he’s prepared to vote against… Continue reading

Most Read