I'm an adult. I should know how mail works.
April 9, 2010 7:30 AM   Subscribe

If I send a postcard from China to the United States, I pay 4.5 RMB. Who gets the money?

Obviously China Post gets some of it. But doesn't USPS also get a cut? They're the ones who have to take it from the border to the actual address, after all (right?). So how does price sharing work? Does China Post pay some annual bulk rate to USPS to cover those costs? What if postal rates go up in the US?

Or, if the USPS gets none of it, why do they deliver the postcard? Is there some international agreement which boils down to We All Just Deliver Each Other's Mail?

I acknowledge that it's entirely possible that this is obvious to everyone except me.
posted by jweed to Law & Government (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Straight Dope
posted by vacapinta at 7:33 AM on April 9, 2010

Best answer: Not at all obvious. Basic answer from The Straight Dope about this general question. Googleable term is "Universal Postal Union"
posted by jessamyn at 7:34 AM on April 9, 2010

Response by poster: Boom. Ask metafilter.
posted by jweed at 7:42 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

interesting post from the straight dope. I thought we were still under the old system where everything was a flat rate. I guess the new system will work with computer tracking and all. just by coincidence I'm thinking of sending postcards from China too. Now I know how much it costs... gotta love this site.
posted by chinabound at 8:38 AM on April 9, 2010

I was just wondering about this, too. I just sent out a large volume of international mail and was noticing the different "zones" and how it costs more to send something to England than to India.
posted by thebazilist at 10:53 AM on April 9, 2010

(from the United States)
posted by thebazilist at 10:53 AM on April 9, 2010

Note: The Straight Dope article was written in 1990. Are things even more complex now?
posted by exphysicist345 at 7:57 PM on April 9, 2010

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