International Postal News - July 7, 2020

International Shipping Estimates - 

Please see the updated news post (https://boardgamegeekstore.com/blogs/news/covid-19-international-shipping-delays-as-of-may-26-2020) for the most recent updates as of July 7.

International Postal Rates - 

Two international agreements within the last year will be affecting shipments from the US to all other countries which began on July 1, 2020.

First - Between December 2019 and March 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was ratified to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and went into effect July 1, 2020.  The provisions impact trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada and there is one provision which specifically impacts shipping of orders from the BGG Store to Mexico and Canada:

  1. Customs and Duties Fees - 
    1. Canada - The USMCA “raises the de minimis level for Canada for express shipments for the first time in decades, with up to C$40 exempt from duties and taxes (increased from C$20) and up to C$150 exempt from duties.”
    2. Mexico - The USMCA “sets the de minimis level for Mexico up to US$50 exempt from duties and taxes, and raises it up to US$117 duty-free for express shipments.
More Information -

https://blog.stamps.com/2020/07/01/usmca-starts-july-1-2020/

https://www.trade.gov/usmca;

https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2020-Jun/USMCA%20Implementing%20Instructions%20-%202020%20Jun%2030%20%28Finalv1%29.pdf

https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/united-states-mexico-canada-agreement;

https://www.ups.com/us/en/help-center/shipping-support/country-regulations/usmca.page?WT.mc_id=EML_MKTO_102103&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTVdWa09HRmhNV1E1T1dGaCIsInQiOiJkbnVERlQ0cDVvN0xIdDRnbHFFVmVJaUIxRm5DTDE3YlNaemlsemN0MWl4ZUtpUnFHaGdKdjN1a3EyTzBHaEowcGRldHBFR1NCcDd0cEtCWFBBY0hMUEtLazRDWks3ZlwvWnY2d3FaWkpBcHZuckhlSDJCVGsyK05XNW5Jb1JvQlcifQ%3D%3D

Further information can be found via Canada and Mexico’s Customs Bureaus’ and government trade sites.


Second - In September 2019, the Universal Postal Union held an Extraordinary Congress to change/update/rebalance some fees between postal agencies in participating countries.  The current international delivery fee structure (i.e. terminal dues - the fees paid from one postal agency to another agency for continuation of mail delivery) had been in effect for many years.  The result of that congress was that beginning July 1, 2020 for the US and between January, 2021 and 2025 for other countries around the world, postal services have the option to “self-declare” the terminal dues rates.  Associated with that, postal services will likely pass those fees along to its customers through the postal rates.  

So, as of July 1, 2020, the United States Postal Service has initiated postage price increases for its International rates and for its mail consolidators (such as UPS Mail Innovations), and changes to door to door tracking services.  While USPS Rates may show changes immediately, the UPS Mail Innovations (“Standard” International Mail) rates will not take effect until July 20th or 21st.  


For BGG Store international customers, this is not good news at the moment. Postage rates for packages weighing less than 16 oz. range in increases from 0.8% to 350% and door to door tracking services that used to be available for 40(?) countries are down to about 25 countries.  The carrier representatives that I have had conversations with over the last week indicate that agreements regarding rates and tracking will fluctuate over the next several months/years, so there are likely to be multiple rate changes and more countries offering tracking as time goes by.  


For more information: 

https://blog.stamps.com/2020/06/19/july-1-2020-rate-increase-important-news-for-international-shippers-using-consolidators/

http://www.upu.int/en/activities/terminal-dues-and-transit-charges/about-terminal-dues-and-transit-charges.html

https://mailingsystemstechnology.com/article-4596-The-US-Remains-in-the-UPU-but-Changes-Are-Ahead-in-2020.html

https://mailingsystemstechnology.com/article-4656-Critical-Changes-for-International-Shippers-Are-Effective-July-1-2020.html

https://parcelindustry.com/article-5377-The-UPU-and-You-What-the-Changes-to-the-United-States&rsquo-Role-in-the-Universal-Postal-Union-Means-for-International-Shippers-in-2020-and-Beyond.html

https://link.usps.com/2019/09/25/upu-decision/

Two Steps the BGG Store is actively taking:

  1. For the past year, we have been looking into 3-4 international retailers/distributors trying to find the right fit to get some of our products to our international customers easier and hopefully less expensively.  That research is still ongoing and we hope to have something within the next year.
  2. We have also begun research into other carrier services, either direct carriers or mail consolidators, to see how they compare with USPS direct rates and with our UPS Mail Innovations consolidated rates, time in transit, etc.  Hopefully, we can have some additional shipping options available within the next year.