USA shies away from calling China a currency manipulator

US President Donald Trump

Wednesday's announcement is the latest move by the Trump administration to remove the United States from multi-lateral organizations and agreements that it believes disadvantage the country.

The White House threatened on Wednesday to withdraw from a United Nations postal treaty that dates back more than a century, alleging it provides an unfair advantage to Chinese and non-U.S. companies shipping goods into the U.S.

Trump does not need congressional approval to withdraw because the last version of the treaty was never put up to a vote, administration officials said.

The Trump administration's decision to exit the agreement was pushed by White House advisor Peter Navarro, according to The New York Times. Trump previously has announced tariffs against Chinese goods estimated to be worth $250 billion.

No major trade partner was designated a currency manipulator, according to the report, which was released Wednesday by the Treasury. About 60% of packages shipped into the US come from China, the New York Times reports. The biggest winners could be shipping carriers such as UPS.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the move should not be linked to China, despite arguments that the arrangement especially benefits Chinese manufacturers by making it cheaper to ship packages from Beijing to NY than from one side of the the other.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday, with US futures settling below $70 a barrel for the first time in a month, after USA crude stockpiles rose 6.5 million barrels, nearly triple what analysts had forecast, while exports dropped.

The price of shipping a 4.4-pound package, the largest parcel covered by the treaty, from China to the United States is about $5, according to US estimates.

From now on, the United States will have "self-declared rates" for packages under 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) to correct what US officials call a "major economic distortion".

The "system creates winners and losers", the report's author's concluded, especially China's national postal service and "Chinese online retailers in the lightweight, low-value package segment at the expense of the U.S. Postal Service and American retailers".

The US Postal Service said that in 2016 it lost more than US$135 million handling foreign mail.

"President Donald J. Trump received a report from the Department of State pursuant to the August 23, 2018, Presidential Memorandum on "Modernizing the Monetary Reimbursement Model for the Delivery of Goods Through the International Postal System and Enhancing the Security and Safety of International Mail".

"This outdated arrangement contributes significantly to the flood of counterfeit goods and unsafe drugs that enter the country from China", Mr. Timmons said. "The UPU remains committed to attainment of the noble aims of worldwide collaboration by working with all its 192 member countries to ensure that the treaty best serves everyone", Director General Bishar Hussein said in a statement.



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