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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Strategic Plan for the UPU 2013-2016

December 12, 2012


Office of Global Systems, Bureau of International Organizations

The document below, the "Strategic Plan for the UPU for 2013-2016," contains the overall goals that the U.S. Government urges the UPU to achieve during the period covered by the decisions of the 2012 Doha UPU Congress. This plan reflects the views of the U.S. Government stakeholder agencies in UPU issues and is informed by the Federal Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services. It aims to advance U.S. policy on international postal arrangements, as specified in the Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act of 2006:

  • To promote and encourage communications between peoples by efficient operation of international postal services and other delivery services for cultural, social, and economic purposes;
  • To promote and encourage unrestricted and undistorted competition in the provision of international postal services and other international delivery services, except where provision of such services by private companies may be prohibited by law of the United States;
  • To promote and encourage a clear distinction between governmental and operational responsibilities with respect to the provision of international postal services and other international delivery services by the Government of the United States and by intergovernmental organizations of which the United States is a member; and
  • To participate in multilateral and bilateral agreements with other countries to accomplish these objectives.

The goals in this plan, which shall be adjusted periodically and are meant to reflect the needs and interests of U.S. customers and users of international postal and delivery services, are shown in order of priority.

PART I: Principles upon which U.S. priorities for the UPU are based

U.S. priorities for the UPU are based on the following guiding principles:

  • Accessibility to affordable, high-quality universal service for international postal products, as provided by the UPU Convention.
  • Maximum benefit, in terms of quality and price, for users of international postal and delivery services.
  • Coverage of marginal costs for the processing, transportation and delivery of mandatory inbound postal products and services.
  • Support and encouragement for maximum undistorted competition among providers of international postal and delivery services, both public and private, where free market mechanisms apply.
  • Greater separation of operational, regulatory and governmental responsibilities.

PART II: U.S. Priorities for the UPU

First Tier Priorities: Major Strategic and Policy Issues

1. Quality of Service

  • Seek to develop and promote the adoption of standards and targets that will contribute to effective measurement of the quality of service of international mail.
  • Support further refinement of report cards by the UPU on the performance of designated operators in delivering international letter post items and parcels to the addressee.
  • Support efforts to establish a global address management system for use in countries able to adequately maintain the database and technology infrastructure necessary for its foundation.
  • Continue efforts to extend and expand pay-for-performance systems for letter post and parcels, for example, by encouraging participation of Designated Operators in the Quality Link to Terminal Dues.
  • Support efforts to design a single combined network of systems that would unite the current postal networks used for UPU operational and accounting processes.
  • Promote widespread use of scanning for increased visibility and customer satisfaction.
  • Support the deployment and further development of the UPU Global Monitoring System.

2. Integrity of the International Postal Network


  • Strengthen efforts to combat the use of the mails for terrorism or other illegal acts through implementation of security standards and coordination with relevant intergovernmental organizations, supranational organizations, and UPU members and their designated operators.
  • Further develop and support implementation of Postal Security Group programs such as airport security reviews and regional training for postal security specialists.
  • Continue the focus on preventing injuries from dangerous goods in the mail; preventing mail theft and loss; preventing revenue loss; and preserving customer confidence in the mail.


  • Promote continued cooperation and dialogue between the UPU and the World Customs Organization (WCO), especially regarding supply chain security and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) transmissions between posts and customs officials.
  • Propose and promote specific actions by the Council of Administration (CA) and Postal Operations Council (POC) aimed at customs clearance procedures for postal items consistent with commercial customs requirements imposed on private sector delivery firms for similar shipments presenting similar customs concerns.
  • Propose concrete steps to standardize and support the full implementation of EDI message exchanges between posts and customs and aviation security authorities (where required) associated with the exchange of international mail packages, and assign urgency to these tasks in light of international initiatives such as the WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade and WCO-ICAO cooperation on air cargo security.

3. Economic Issues

Terminal Dues

  • Support the fundamental principle of market-oriented, cost-based, country-specific terminal dues under which increases in rates are phased in over time or introduced with ample advance notification to avoid sudden and steep postage rate increases for mailers.
  • Further refine the linearization methodology to produce rates that more closely reflect costs.
  • Take account of subsidized postage rates in many countries.
  • Continue progress in achieving inclusion of UPU member countries in the target terminal dues system in the next cycle, after analysis of the results of the study of the impact on current new target countries of entering the target system.
  • Monitor the UPU actions to move member countries to the target terminal dues system.

Other Economic Issues

  • Promote reform measures designed to reduce or eliminate possible subsidies of postal products in the competitive market by regular UPU budget funds.
  • Promote financial inclusion insofar as it complies with international standards related to financial stability and recommendations in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) document entitled "Anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures and financial inclusion," and within the framework of competitive neutrality, allowing for private sector financial service providers to compete under the same rules as public sector providers.

Second Tier Priorities: Regulatory and Administrative Issues

4. Extra-territorial Offices of Exchange (ETOEs)

  • Preserve the distinction between the practices of ETOEs, which are purely commercial, and the execution of universal service by national postal administrations operating in their home territories.
  • Support UPU policies that consider dispatches by ETOEs as commercial traffic subject to the same rules applied to private operators, permit postal administrations to refuse items dispatched by ETOEs under UPU documentation, and limit eligibility to use UPU documentation on outbound traffic dispatched by ETOEs.
  • Work towards UPU adoption of technical standards for International Mail Processing Center (IMPC) codes that would clearly identify the administration responsible for the office in the code, include a representation of the physical location the office, and allow flexibility for current and future requirements.
  • Achieve a standardized policy for UPU allocation of IMPC codes to designated and non-designated operators.

5. UPU Strategy

  • Contribute to further refinements to the performance reports developed by the UPU Councils on the achievement, by individual member countries, and designated operators, of selected key goals in the UPU Strategy, such as those relating to the implementation and effectiveness of postal reform legislation, and the quality of service of the postal networks in relation to their level of postal reform.
  • Press for further development of methods, such as through annual or biennial surveys, for seeking the views of member countries on UPU strategic and budgetary priorities.
  • Seek to develop principles and methodologies for linking the priorities expressed by member countries and the objectives in the UPU Strategy to the individual programs in the annual UPU Program and Budget.
  • Align human resource strategy with the UPU Program and Budget to ensure effective implementation of high priority programs.
  • Continue monitoring activities in diversification strategies and innovation activities for alternative services that would meet customer needs, taking into consideration U.S. law on postal and non-postal services.
  • Encourage the UPU to monitor the extent to which governments have effectively included posts in national policies aimed at the modernization of government services, and in sectoral policies.

6. UPU Budget and Management

  • Support zero nominal growth for the mandatory UPU budget.
  • Press for increased transparency within the International Bureau (IB), including more accessible financial and other management reports and greater transparency with respect to hiring and promotions.
  • Lead members to participate more actively in review of human resource and financial management at the IB. Promote gender balance and equitable geographic distribution with regard to recruitment for IB positions, particularly at professional levels and above.
  • Promote a policy of self-financing for all activities outside the universal service obligation for letter post and parcels.
  • Support financial and organizational autonomy for the UPU user groups and cooperatives.

Third Tier Priorities: Structural Reform and Improving UPU Decision-making

7. Structure of the UPU

  • Seek to establish an organizational structure that supports a more efficient and effective decision-making process for POC and CA activities, without compromising the quality of decisions reached.
  • Foster the creation of user-funded extrabudgetary groups within the UPU structure, and support the delegation of authority to the CA and POC to create them. These groups would address activities not covered by the regular UPU budget.
  • Undertake to maximize private-sector participation in the Consultative Committee and foster further integration of private-sector organizations into the work of UPU bodies. Support and facilitate private company participation as members of the Consultative Committee.

8. Improving Decision-making

  • Press for increased transparency, including timely and higher quality document production for the work of the members, the Councils, the Consultative Committee, and Congress.
  • aDevelop criteria for measuring the organization’s ability to mobilize external funds from multilateral and national development agencies and development banks, and major NGOs, and effectively combine them with the UPU’s own development cooperation resources.

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