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Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Policy Toward Extraterritorial Offices of Exchange (ETOEs)

July 14, 2015


Office of Global Systems
Bureau of International Organization Affairs

An Extraterritorial Office of Exchange (ETOE) is defined as an office or facility operated by or in connection with a postal operator outside its national territory on the territory of another country. These offices are established by postal operators for commercial purposes to draw business in markets outside their own national territory. There are approximately thirty ETOEs operating within the United States.

The 2004 Bucharest UPU Congress decided that the items that originate from ETOEs are strictly commercial items not covered by the provisions of the UPU Convention, unless the laws or policies of the destination country allow ETOE traffic to be considered as international mail covered by those provisions. The UPU Acts do not apply to ETOE commercial operations in the United States.

Regarding inbound ETOE traffic, U.S. policy provides that items originating from an ETOE in a foreign country shall be considered as commercial cargo upon arrival in the United States. As such, these cargo shipments must be cleared through customs using commercial customs clearance procedures. If these items are to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service to addresses in the United States, they must be mailed as domestic U.S. mail charged at domestic U.S. postage rates.

Regarding outbound ETOE commercial cargo, it is the policy of the U.S. Government that the UPU Acts do not apply to ETOE commercial operations in the United States. Accordingly, ETOEs must not use UPU documentation to export commercial cargo from the United States. According to U.S. Federal regulations, all commercial cargo shipments (including ETOE cargo shipments) must be conveyed on commercial documentation (air way bills) under commercial customs clearance procedures. U.S. Postal Service equipment, such as bags, containers and other receptacles, and customs forms must not be used to export cargo from the United States.

Operators that have established or intend to establish ETOE operations in the United States shall so inform the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Postal Service at the points of contact indicated below. The information to be provided shall include the full name of the operator, street address, telephone, fax and email address of the persons or persons responsible for the ETOE operations in the United States.

1. U.S. Department of State
Ms. Shereece Robinson
Office of Specialized and Technical Affairs (IO/STA)
Bureau of International Organization Affairs
Suite L-409
Washington D.C. 20520-6319
Tel.: (+1 202) 663-2649

2. United States Postal Service
Ms. Modi Delgado
International Postal Affairs Specialist
Global Business
U. S. Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza SW Room 5411
Washington, DC 20260-0004
Tel.: (202) 268-4541

Guidance from the Transportation Security Administration regarding ETOE operations can be found at:

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