A proposal that items sent from ETOEs, or extraterritorial offices of exchange, should be treated as commercial items not subject to the UPU Acts was adopted at the Universal Postal Union’s 23rd Congress meeting in Bucharest, Romania.
The proposal was approved because ETOEs do not fulfill the universal service obligations set out in the UPU Acts, according to the Congress.
ETOEs are offices set up by countries outside their national territories for the international exchange of mail. The offices allow international direct mailers to mail through an international postal administration without leaving their host country.
There are about 100 registered ETOEs worldwide.
The proposal, adopted on Sept. 23, means that items sent from ETOEs should be treated as commercial items not subject to the UPU Acts, unless the destination Post has announced that it agrees to apply the Acts to items received from ETOEs.
Some postal organizations accept and deliver items dispatched by ETOEs for terminal dues or under direct entry arrangements at applicable domestic postage rates. But others refuse to accept such dispatches, arguing that ETOEs should be regarded as commercial services rather than as treaty-based services fulfilling a country's obligations under the UPU Acts.
The delegates to the Congress also adopted a proposal that all public postal operators seeking to establish an ETOE in another UPU member country should obtain prior approval from the host country. The UPU Council of Administration adopted a similar interim resolution in late 2003.
A proposal that was adopted on Sept. 25 legally defined the Electronic Postmark, formally recognizing it as a new optional postal service.
The Electronic Postmark acts as valid, legal evidence of who signed what and when.
The amendment paves the way for the UPU to define the Electronic Postmark as a new optional postal service that postal organizations around the world can offer.