President Donald Trump

Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA

Trump Wants U.S. Out Of Program Allowing For Lower Postage Rates For Foreign Countries

October 19, 2018 - 2:35 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880) -- President Donald Trump wants to pull the U.S. out of a program that offers lower postage rates to foreign companies that ship packages to the U.S.

As Alana Semuels, staff writer for The Atlantic, explained to WCBS 880’s Michael Wallace, the program is actually more than a century old.

“It used to be that if you sent something from, say, Europe to the U.S., the U.S. Postal Service would agree to deliver the mail on behalf of the European or, you know, French postal service. They used to do it for free. Then in 1969, they started asking each other to pay a little bit more,” Semuels explained.

But a consequence of the treaty is that countries that are considered developing pay less than those considered already developed – placing China at what the Trump administration believes is an unfair advantage.

“If you send a package from China to the U.S., it’s really cheap because of this treaty. If you send a package to China from the U.S., it’s very expensive because of this treaty,” Semuels said.

While a lot of Trump’s trade moves have been immensely controversial, this one is not.

“You have a lot of e-commerce sellers saying it’s really unfair that people from China can send the same good that they’re sending from, say, North Carolina, and the Chinese sellers are actually paying less to ship them,” Semuels said. “You know, for instance, if you sent something, a small package, from Fairfax, Virginia to North Carolina, it costs $1.94, and from Shanghai, it would cost $1.12.”

In the era of e-commerce, packages are sent a lot more often than they used to be, and China benefits in multiple ways that many believe can be detrimental to the U.S., explained Semuels.

“From an e-commerce retailer’s perspective, not only is China sending things more cheaply, but it kind of incentivizes them to send things like knockoff products, counterfeit products, or even something like fentanyl that’s really – a lot of fentanyl has been coming from China,” she said. “So a lot of people are saying, you know what? This is actually a pretty good idea.”