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Hudson Institute Releases Report Examining Threats Posed by Universal Postal Union Regulations

Hudson Institute

UN agency’s regulations subsidize foreign merchants in US; create security gaps for postal delivery of illegal drugs and dangerous materials

Washington, March 2 – Today, Hudson Institute released Crisis in the Mail: Fixing a Broken International Package System, a report by Dr. Arthur Herman, senior fellow at Hudson Institute. Based on findings by the Hudson Institute Postal Commission, the report outlines how U.S. domestic commerce and national security is disadvantaged by regulations developed by the United Nations’ Universal Postal Union. The Hudson Commission has highlighted areas for meaningful reform and specific recommendations that would level e-commerce advantages and strengthen US protection against illegal and malicious foreign packages.

The Universal Postal Union, the global governing body responsible for regulating government-to-government overseas postage, annually produces the “Universal Postal Convention.” As outlined in the report, the Hudson Commission has found that the 2016 Convention:

  • Produces an unfair competitive advantage to foreign commerce over American businesses by using an outdated terminal dues structure. The current tiered categorization of postal delivery rates between countries allows companies in China, the world’s e-commerce leader, to offer free shipping in the US, which is subsidized by US merchants and taxpayers.
  • Creates an unprotected backdoor for illegal drugs to be shipped into the US. Postal packages originating in the US are tracked by advance electronic data that can be monitored by federal agencies. While private carriers adhere to tracking standards, packages originating in foreign posts enter the United States without electronic or paper trails, preventing efforts by the Drug Enforcement Agency and Customs and Border Protection to track opiates, illegal prescription drugs, and other substances mailed to US addresses from abroad.
  • Weakens national security by exempting foreign posts from any liability to provide accurate customs and security data, circumventing aviation, security, and customs authorities that monitor potentially suspicious in-bound packages.

Crisis In the Mail includes actionable recommendations for Congress, federal agencies, and the United Nations to address areas of reform. The report will be the topic of a future panel discussion at Hudson Institute; additional details are forthcoming.

Members of the Hudson Institute Postal Commission include Arthur Herman, senior fellow at Hudson Institute; John P. Walters, chief operating officer of Hudson Institute; Jim I. Campbell, lawyer and consultant on postal policy; R. Richard Geddes, professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University; Sean Heather, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Global Regulatory Cooperation; John Horton, President and CEO of LegitScript; and John Hudak, senior fellow in governance studies at Brookings Institution. Support for this project was provided by United Parcel Service.

To arrange an interview with Arthur Herman or members of the Hudson Commission, please contact Hudson Institute Press Secretary Carolyn Stewart.