According to the BBC, President Trump recently announced that the United States planned to remove themselves from a postal treaty that gives present-day China an unfair advantage.
Nearly 150 years ago, when the treaty began, its intentions were to “subsidi[ze] shipments from developing countries, while setting higher rates for wealthier nations,” which was a way of aiding countries who were trying to advance.
However, as White House officials have said, the treaty is too advantageous for China, which is no longer a developing country–quite the opposite in fact.
The United States removing itself from this treaty could not only be detrimental to China but to current developing countries as well. In the way of combating that issue, U.S. officials have stated that “they [hope] the notice of withdrawal would set the stage to agree to a better deal.”
It is the goal of the United States to enter a modified treaty that would change the current rules on a country’s ability to “set their own rates for parcels weighing under 2kg (4.4lbs).” With commerce taking an internet-heavy turn, these size packages are much more common than they were in 1874 and institutions ranging from the U.S. Postal Service to Amazon have been dissatisfied with the deal for quite some time.
This latest announcement is on par with the platform President Trump campaigned on, which pledged to put “America First.” The current treaty is costing the United States about “$300 [million] each year.” Officials also point out that lower prices allow more common “shipment of counterfeit goods.”
This is not the first trade-related decision President Trump has made that is aimed at China, though. According to the BBC, he also placed taxes on imports from China, as well as other countries. He had stated that his initial trade changes–imposing taxes on some countries’ imports and withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership–were not his last, and this announcement to withdraw from the postal treaty proves that.
There has been much skepticism surrounding his China-related decisions, as China has been one of our longest and strongest trade partners. However, it would be to stray from his campaign promises to not make or withdraw from trade deals that do not have the best interest of the United States in mind.
It is not clear when negotiations will begin, but the United States has announced that “it would be willing to remain in the [Universal Postal Union]” if its desires were met.