ACI Letter to Foreign Relations Committee: Modernize the UPU

Chairman Senator Bob Menendez

Ranking Member Senator James E. Risch

Dear Senators Menendez and Risch:

Our organization writes this letter to bring further attention to a bipartisan issue with significant international economic considerations. As the U.S. Department of State is aware, certain rules governing international postal and delivery services under authority of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have yielded discriminatory outcomes for the United States, its Postal System, and its countless participating corporations, small businesses, and consumers.

The importance of these issues is underscored by the rapid growth of global e-commerce, which expanded from 15% of total retail sales in 2019 to 21% in 2021. Morgan Stanley analysts project that the global market could increase from $3.3 trillion today to $5.4 trillion in 2026.[1]

Among the 192 nations that constitute the UPU, many exert disproportionate control via their privately-owned postal services. Collectively, these non-governmental entities have been able to shift the rulemaking landscape into a regime that insulates them from competition and allows them to take advantage of the multitude of buyers and sellers within the countries that they serve.

In your oversight role of the initiatives of the U.S. Department of State, we encourage the Committee to accelerate solutions to the inequity and cartel-style operation of the UPU framework. Enabling broader participation of qualified delivery services – amongst the officially assigned postal service in each nation – must be part and parcel to UPU modernization. The existing regime for navigating international commerce, postal systems, and facilitating consumer welfare have required meaningful reforms for decades.[2]

We ask the Committee to help shepherd reforms in the United States’ pending reform proposal in anticipation of the UPU Extraordinary Congress in October. With this Committee’s assistance, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs can avert any further delay in directing the relevant UPU Task Force to implement the U.S. plan that will promote fairness and open the UPU to the wider postal sector.

The exclusivity of the UPU, its international mail processing systems, and customs operations must be unraveled so that other providers can apply their expertise and deliver more value for consumer communities. The insular nature of the international mailing body has also abetted the pervasive subsidization of adversarial logistics exploits, namely that of China’s abuse of its archaic UPU designation. The U.S. proposal must be comprehensive in resolving these injustices.

Such actions are in keeping with the Committee’s goals to reinforce harmonious and peacekeeping relations among a multitude of global partners; and to establish pro-growth economic policies via fair trade ideals so American workers and businesses can compete on a level-playing field.

In our view, the nation’s consumer market difficulties and those forecasted for the months ahead are grim at best. We must build awareness of the Department’s reform plan and act with urgency to support the American marketplace. Such motions to improve private provider involvement are readily actionable.

In an increasingly interconnected global economy, we cannot delay any further in asserting modernization of the UPU governance. 

Thank you for your consideration,

Steve Pociask, CEO / President

American Consumer Institute


[1] “Here’s why E-Commerce growth Can Stay Stronger for Longer,” Morgan Stanley, April 2022, https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/global-ecommerce-growth-forecast-2022.

[2] Ross Marchand and Kevin R. Kosar, “The Uncertain Future of the Universal Postal Union,” American Enterprise Institute, August 2021, https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/The-Uncertain-Future-of-the-Universal-Postal-Union.pdf?x91208.

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