A task force led by the Treasury Department is proposing that the United States Postal Service ramp up shipping costs for certain packages — a move that could hurt Amazon as well as its e-commerce competitors including Target and Walmart.
A report released on Tuesday said the agency should sift through mail and commercial package deliveries, charging higher prices for the latter. The proposal would essentially force higher rates on packages shipped by online giants, meaning increased shipping fees for customers.
President Donald Trump established the task force in April to investigate the USPS’ operations and finances. “The goal of these recommendations is to identify a path for the USPS to operate under a sustainable business model, providing necessary mail services to citizens and businesses, while competing fairly in commercial markets,” wrote Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who also serves as chairman of the task force.
It’s the latest step in Trump’s war with Amazon. The president has long been outspoken about what he perceived to be the Seattle-based business’ negative effect on brick-and-mortar retail. He has also targeted Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, including the coverage of his administration in the Bezos-owned Washington Post.
In a tweet last December, Trump wrote: “Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!”
He followed up with the issue in April — less than 10 days before creating the USPS task force. “I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,” Trump said. “Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne [sic] by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!”
On the other side is the Package Coalition, an organization whose members include Amazon, the National Retail Federation, Express Scripts and other major direct-mail firms. In a letter addressed to Mnuchin, chairman John M. McHugh wrote: “We oppose legislative or regulatory changes that would force the Postal Service to artificially raise its prices; forcing the Postal Service to raise its prices for package delivery services will harm, not help, Main Street businesses and consumers.”
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