Abraham, Marchant introduce bill to end postal subsidies for China
WASHINGTON – Congressmen Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, and Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, this week introduced legislation to stop international competitors, such as China, from taking advantage of inequity within the international postage rate system.
The United Nations’ Universal Postal Union (UPU) sets “terminal dues” and “inbound letter post prices” to determine how much countries will pay to send and receive mail internationally. The UPU uses a tiered system to establish rates, and currently lists China – the second largest economy in the world – as a Tier III while categorizing the United States as a Tier I.
The result of this inequity has been losses of $134.5 million on international letter post in FY16, a sharp increase over the previous year’s $97.9 million loss, according to the Postal Regulatory Commission’s Annual Compliance Determination Report. About 63 percent of all US inbound mail originates from Asia.
Abraham and Marchant’s bill, HR 5524, would allow the Secretary of State to enter into agreements that require the Postal Service to prohibit preferential rates or fees for inbound international mail. It calls upon the Postal Regulatory Commission to establish postal rates that ensure parity between domestic and international shippers.
“The American taxpayers are subsidizing Chinese business competition, and this must end. I’m looking forward to working with Rep. Marchant to pass this bill and bring more equity to our shipping rates and put American businesses on a more even playing field,” Dr. Abraham said.
Rep. Marchant added, “The United States Postal Service (USPS) is subsidizing inbound mail from foreign countries and sticking American shippers with the bill. To the detriment of small businesses in my district and their customers, it is often cheaper to ship a package from China to anywhere in the United States than to mail a package from one North Texas city to another.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., has a similar bill in the Senate called the ENDs Act.
“The current system costs American jobs at the expense of American taxpayers,” said Dr. Cassidy. “American taxpayers should not be subsidizing Chinese companies mailing items to the U.S., competing with our businesses.”