U.S. Postal Commission Chairman Outlines U.S. Postal Reform

June 9, 2009

United States Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Dan G. Blair today outlined the history and direction of postal reform in the United States at a symposium held at the Tokyo American Center entitled, "New Regulatory and Business Models for Postal Delivery and Express Services," for Japanese leaders representing government, the postal regulatory community, the private sector, the media, and academia.

"Every national postal system has a unique history, and this history plays a critical role in how each nation pursues reform," Blair said. He noted that the U.S. postal system was created by the founders of the United States to unite the country, promote economic growth, and stimulate the social and civic development of the people.

"In 2006, President George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which created a modern framework that allows the U.S. Postal Service to compete and earn profits while preserving an affordable, quality universal postal service."

Blair cited a number of modern practices incorporated into the law that:

  • Created a strong regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission, to balance the new flexibilities given to the Postal Service, protect the public interest and ensure fair competition in competitive markets;
  • Placed postal monopoly products, such as letters, publications, and advertising, under an inflation-based price cap to prevent abuse of monopoly pricing powers, while allowing for fast, predictable price changes;
  • Established regulations for competitive products - like Express Mail and commercial package services - to allow the Postal Service to compete with private-sector companies on a more level playing field; and,
  • Directed the Postal Regulatory Commission to oversee the creation of reports, systems, and procedures to measure and foster service improvements and to ensure the transparency and accountability of Postal Service finances and operating performance.

Chairman Blair emphasized the importance of oversight in providing accurate, up-to-date data for U.S. decision makers. The Postal Regulatory Commission provides a window of transparency into the Postal Service's financial and operational health.

While in Tokyo, Chairman Blair also plans to meet with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and Japanese government officials responsible for postal regulatory issues.