US demands increase e-commerce delivery costs
The Third Extraordinary Congress of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) with 145 years of history has completed its work in Geneva (Switzerland). The Congress was chaired by Director General of Turkey’s Post and Telegraph Organization, Chairman of the UPU Executive Board Kenan Bozgeyik.
The event was a particular importance for the future activities of the UPU. Thus, the main reason for the convening of the congress was the U.S. decision to withdraw from the UPU in October 2018 if their demand for increasing the cost of delivering small packages of electronic commerce products was not met. And this posed a serious threat to the organization’s future activities.
Given the importance of the congress, 154 delegations from 192 member countries attended the meeting.
Three proposals regarding the costs of small packages were included on the agenda. A document called “Option A” was developed by the UPU Governing Body. “Option B” is a proposal made by the United States and its partners, and “Option C” was a compromise based on these two options and reflected the position of most countries, in particular developing countries. Various additions were also presented for “Option C”, which were supported by France, Germany, the Netherlands, China and other countries, including Azerbaijan.
On September 24, the first day of Congress, at the insistence of the United States, a discussion of "Option B" took place. Should this document be adopted, the consideration of other options would not be considered. This situation led to a heated debate. Late in the afternoon, Option B was not accepted, and the US delegation left the congress hall.
Due to this, Congress could not begin its work on September 25 at 09:00. Intense discussions continued until 15:00. After the meeting began, UPU Secretary- General Bishar Hussein, giving detailed information on the discussions held, said that another compromise option had been developed, prepared on the basis of “Option C” and reflecting other positions voiced during the discussions.
The document was presented to the participants and discussions were held. Congress participants praised the importance of the document for the preservation and further functioning of the UPU and supported its adoption. The US delegation also welcomed the document, and stated that it will remain a member of the UPU if the document is adopted. The Azerbaijani delegation also supported this option and focused on its implementation.
At the end of the meeting, the document was unanimously adopted and the UPU Convention was amended accordingly. The amendments include provisions on the determination of costs by countries depending on the volume for sending small packages containing e-commerce products, the lower and upper limits of these expenditures, as well as changes in the level of expenditures until 2025.
In the first half of the third day of the congress, amendments to the Convention were ratified as the second protocol to this document.
In the afternoon, the UPU Postal Operations Council held an extraordinary meeting, and in accordance with the amendments to the Convention, the Congress also adopted appropriate amendments to its Regulations.
Additionally, during the congress the members of the Azerbaijani delegation met with representatives of Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Estonia and other countries and discussed issues of cooperation.