press release -
International Housewares Association

Contact: Deborah A.Teschke
Senior Manager, Public Relations & Communications
Email Debbie Teschke

Why is the USPS Charging U.S. Manufacturers 5X What They Charge Chinese Shippers?

ROSEMONT, Ill. (July 17, 2018)—The issue of terminal dues–below-cost payments the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) collects from international shippers to deliver small packages weighing under 4.4 lbs.–continues to be a challenge for housewares suppliers, especially for those who manufacture in the U.S. The subject was brought to the housewares industry’s attention earlier this year by Jayme Smaldone, founder and CEO of Mighty Mug, in an Op-Ed article in The Wall Street Journal in which he highlighted the unfair advantage of postal rates given to products mailed from China to the U.S. versus products mailed within the United States.

According to Smaldone, the USPS rate for a 1 lb. package mailed within the U.S. is $6.30. A Chinese company mailing a 1lb. package to the U.S. through the USPS pays a rate of $1.40. In addition to the low rates, Chinese retailers also pay no U.S. taxes, no customs duty and no U.S. state sales tax.

The International Housewares Association, which alerted members to this issue by posting Smaldone’s essay on terminal dues on the Association’s blog, is urging members to contact their congressmen and ask them to support H. R. 5524, the Packages Overseas Subsidy Termination (POST) Act. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-24-TX), calls upon the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to establish postal rates that ensure parity between domestic and international shippers and levels the playing field for American small businesses competing in the global economy.

Terminal dues are set by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), which was established in 1874 in Bern, Switzerland, and is the world’s second-oldest treaty organization. The UPU meets every four years to set the rules for the next agreement. During these meetings, 192 nations come together and put countries into one of four categories based on their view of how developed the country is. Even though the U.S. handles roughly half of the world’s mail, it has only one vote. The secretary of state negotiates on behalf of the U.S., and last year it was discovered that the State Department has not formally signed the U.S. on the last two UPU agreements. An opportunity now exists, through the POST Act, H.R. 5524, to end the practice by the USPS of picking winners and losers through subsidizing inbound international packages.

“As the housewares industry’s leading association and voice, an important part of our mantra is to provide and protect a level playing field. This postal service inequity presents a competitive disadvantage for our members and will only get worse if it’s not acted upon,” said Phil Brandl, IHA’s president & CEO.

“Specifically, we urge all our members to contact their Member of Congress and ask them to support H.R. 5524,” Brandl said. “Or use social media to urge President Trump to ‘level the playing field’ by making the U.S. Postal Service stop charging even one penny less to foreign merchants to deliver their packages within the U.S. than American businesses are charged for the same service. The USPS loses money on the delivery, even at a time when they are seeking more financial support from Congress.”

To find your Congressional representative go to or to find your senator, go to

To read Jayme Smaldone’s article on IHA’s blog, go to



The International Housewares Association is the 80-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$355.4 billion at retail worldwide in 2016 ($87.1 billion at retail in the U.S.). The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world's premier exposition of products for the home, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,700 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer panel data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, a unique Web-based community at and group buying discounts on business solutions services.