Donald Trump moves to leave postal union in latest jab at China

I'm concerned that China's currency actions amount to manipulation Baldwin

China was "now the largest source of e-commerce postal packages sent to the US", Campbell said.

President Donald Trump moved Wednesday to withdraw from a 144-year-old global postal agreement that enables businesses in China to mail small packages to the United States at a hefty discount, an arrangement government officials said boosts foreign competitors and costs the U.S. Postal Service roughly $170 million per year.

Under the union's framework it takes a year for a country to withdraw, during which rates can be renegotiated.

Zhang Baohui, a professor of political science at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, said that America's departure from the UPU was part of US President Donald Trump's strategy for the "all-out containment" of China but its significance, in comparison to the damage caused by US tariffs on Chinese imports, would be limited.

Part of the treaty also allows China and other countries to ship packages to the U.S. at lowered rates.

While the USA dollar has strengthened along with the entire domestic economy - which grew at a rate of 3.2 percent over the first half of 2018 - China's renminbi, also known as the yuan, has continued to fall in value.

Dropping out of the postal treaty, first ratified in 1874, is expected to exacerbate tensions with China, but the Postal Service and business groups applauded the action Wednesday.

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Trump administration officials say the leg up, granted under a 1969 provision, was meant to promote growth in poor countries.

"If negotiations are successful, the administration is prepared to rescind the notice of withdrawal and remain in the UPU", she said. "I don't think it's that important at all, but it shows that Trump is obsessed with China's power and will do anything to limit it".

Giving an example, the official said a one-pound package costs domestically about $10 to $13 for a United States business or manufacturer to send, whereas the Chinese mailer, for the last mile, and same distance, one would reimburse about $2.50.

US officials say the growth of transactions on the internet is facilitating a high level of counterfeit goods shipped to the USA, as well as narcotics and fentanyl, with the aid of the lower shipping costs.

The "system creates winners and losers", the report's author's concluded, especially China's national postal service and "Chinese online retailers in the lightweight, low-value package segment at the expense of the U.S. Postal Service and American retailers".

"Threats to withdraw may in fact be counterproductive", she said, "as USA allies may prefer a more consensus-seeking approach".

"This outdated arrangement contributes significantly to the flood of counterfeit goods and risky drugs that enter the country from China", said Jay Timmons, chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group. The fact is, through the bilateral trade agreement with the United States, you know how much benefit American consumers have got with trade with China over the years and how much money American companies have made from operating in China.

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