UPU scrambles to resolve terminal dues issue

In response to the United States notice of withdrawal from the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the UPU Director General Bishar A Hussein said that he and the organisation was doing everything it could to resolve the core issue behind the US withdrawal – the terminal dues remuneration rates.

Speaking of the fast-track negotiations UPU was formulating, he said, “I am glad to inform you that, this week, members agreed on a proposal to adjust the timelines on the discussion on the remuneration related subject with a view to coming up with a proposal to the Council of Administration by the April 2019 session.”

Terminal dues were brought about in 1969, and are a system where the postal operator that sends a letter item to another country pays the destination postal operator for processing and delivering that item. The US complained that it is often cheaper to send a letter or parcel from abroad than domestically, competing unfairly with US senders such as online retailers.

Mr. Hussein, who was speaking during the plenary session of the Council of Administration, also reiterated his intention to meet with the United States to further discuss the matter and he said he hoped to resolve the matter amicably. “I would urge the US, and all members, to exercise flexibility while discussing this matter,” he added.

The US gave notice last week it would withdraw from the UPU, giving one year’s notice before the departure. This seems to have had the desired effect of forcing the terminal dues issue.