Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Postal Service Restricts Commercial Commodity Shipments

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): February 10, 2010 - On November 11, 2009, the FSM National Government received notice from the Government of the United States in regards to the exploitation of the United States Postal Service (USPS) from the high volume of commodity shipments originating within the FSM. According to the terms set forth in the Federal Programs and Services Agreement (FPSA), as amended, the United States has requested the cooperation of the Government of the FSM to protect the postal services, which are provided for by the Government of the United States, from exploitation. The exact language from the FPSA comes from Article VI, Section 5, that says, "The Government of the FSM shall undertake to protect the postal service provided by the Government of the United States from exploitation for the monetary gain of private or government organizations or of individuals or of commercial enterprises, including the posting of bulk mail, books, catalogues, goods or materials."

The shipments in question are ones that contain betelnuts, sakau root, breadfruit and cigarettes that are being mailed through the USPS in large volumes for business purposes. The USPS opted to apply the above mentioned provision in prohibiting the shipments of these commodities when they realized that the FSM Postal Service's (FSMPS) outbound mail volume was skyrocketing because individuals and businesses were exporting these items in bulk, for profit. According to the FSM Postmaster General, Mr. Midion G. Neth, although the FSMPS had restrictions on the commercial shipping of these items, the way the Postal Service and Related Program Agreement was set up, it failed to indicate that postal customers should declare to the Postal Clerks whether his/her parcel was being sent was for personal consumption or for commercial reasons. The Postal Clerks were therefore accepting all packages that were within the prescribed USPS weights and dimension regulations.

Based on the contents of the notification and meetings with USPS officials, on November 18, 2009, the FSMPS ceased allowing the shipment of betelnuts, sakau roots, breadfruit and cigarettes thorough the U.S. Postal Service. Then on December 28, 2009, after further consultation with the USPS and an official notice from the Government of the United States, the USPS relaxed the restriction on the ban and is now allowing the FSMPS to begin sending the commodities in shipments of 1 pound quantities per mailer per day or to a single address per day for sakau, breadfruit and betelnut, or 200 cigarettes per mailer per day or to a single address per day for personal usage only. This new policy will allow people to send small amounts of these commodities to family/friends for personal consumption and will prevent the postal services from being exploited for monetary gain from businesses. All business wishing to export commodities should use a freight forwarder to send their goods.

For more information on these and other postal requirements and policies, please contact your local post office.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356