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US plans exit from UN postal treaty

By Pan Mengqi | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-19 07:51

China regrets White House decision to pull out of union

The White House announced on Wednesday that the US government plans to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union, a move Chinese experts said showcases Washington's disregard for the international order and multilateral governance rules.

"This will begin a one-year withdrawal process, as set forth in the UPU Constitution," the White House said, adding the US Department of State will seek to "negotiate bilateral and multilateral agreements" and call for reforms to the postal treaty.

"If negotiations are successful, the administration is prepared to rescind the notice of withdrawal and remain in the UPU," the White House said, adding "if no agreement can be reached, the US will leave the union".

Bishar Hussein, director of the Universal Postal Union, said he regrets the US decision and will seek a meeting with US officials.

The UPU, located in Switzerland, is an international body of the United Nations and consists of 192 members. The union sets shipping rates for international mail in a way that guarantees lower prices for shipments from developing economies and higher rates for those from advanced economies.

Xinhua News Agency said in a report that the United States believed the current structure of international mailing rates benefit some developing economies, while putting the country's small businesses and manufacturers at a severe competitive disadvantage.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that China regretted the US decision to pull out of the UPU, adding that the pact has had a positive effect on trade and communications.

China's consistent position was to safeguard multilateralism and it would continue to participate in and support the work of the union, he said.

'Disregard for intl order'

Shen Yamei, an associate research fellow at China Institute of International Studies, said Washington's withdrawal from the UPU is another move that showcases the US government's disregard for the international order and multilateral governance rules in Trump's "America first" policy.

She noted that since Trump took office in 2017, the US president has made a point of cutting international ties. The move against the UPU represented another departure from multinational organizations and treaties, after he pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord, the UN Global Compact on Migration, the UN culture and education body UNESCO and the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the Iran nuclear deal.

Diao Daming, an associate professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said the withdrawal is another move by Washington aimed at pressuring Beijing as the China-US trade tensions are ratcheting up. But he said this will undoubtedly harm the interests of ordinary US citizens.

"Unlike imposing tariffs toward other countries, which may have a relatively slow impact on consumers, withdrawing from the UPU can directly affect ordinary people's interests as it highly increases the shipping fee when consumers purchase goods from other countries," he said.

Moreover, he said this practice cannot fundamentally change the reality of the high quality and low price of Chinese goods.

"The real victims of this policy are ordinary US residents," he said.

Xinhua and AFP contributed to this story.

(China Daily 10/19/2018 page12)

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