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Diplomacy in Action

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

May 20, 2014


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. As of 2012 there were more than twenty-five 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 these 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.

Public or private 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 Global Systems (IO/GS)
Bureau of International Organization Affairs
Room 5333
U.S. Department of State
Washington D.C. 20520-6319
Tel.: (+1 202) 647-1044
Fax: (+1 202) 647-8902

2. United States Postal Service
Ms. Modi Delgado
International Postal Affairs Specialist
Global Business
U. S. Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza SW Room 1P830
Washington, DC 20260-3521
Tel.: (202) 268-4541
Fax: (202) 268-6016

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

Further information about ETOEs currently operating in the United States can be found at:

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