Senior White House officials said Wednesday that the U.S. State Department will set its own "self-declared" rates for packages from abroad. Government officials estimated the Universal Postal Union agreement costs the U.S. Postal Service about $170 million to $300 million per year and enables unfair foreign competition.
Rates set by the Universal Postal Union, an arm of the United Nations described by Planet Money as a "postal illuminati," allow merchants to ship packages under 4.4 pounds to U.S. customers more cheaply from China than from U.S. warehouses, officials said. A 1-pound package that costs the USPS about $10 to deliver can be mailed from China for just $2.50, per White House numbers.