The U.S. has announced plans to withdraw from a 144-year-old postal treaty, which the White House says lets China ship goods at unfairly low prices.
This story originally appeared in BBC News.
Under the treaty, a UN body sets lower international rates for packages from certain countries, a move originally designed to support poorer nations.
But the U.S. said the discounts put American businesses at a disadvantage.
Officials said they hoped the notice of withdrawal would set the stage to agree a better deal.
“We’re looking for a fair system,” a senior administration official told reporters. “We do hope that ultimately we achieve a negotiated outcome.”
The BBC’s Asia business correspondent Karishma Vaswani says the move to pull out of the treaty is aimed at forcing the Chinese to give up the developing nation status they had when they first entered the pact back in 1969.
The bid to overhaul the treaty is part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s combative “America First” approach to trade, which has led to tariffs on billions of dollars in goods, attacks on existing trade treaties and criticism of multilateral agreements.
He has frequently singled out China, which exports more goods to the U.S. than any other country.
Officials said the discounts strain the finances of the U.S. Postal Service, facilitate the shipment of counterfeit goods and distort pricing within the U.S., leading to higher fees for domestic companies.