Letter to Congress, Re: International Parcel Delivery in Taiwan


I am writing about a matter concerning trade and USPS shipping with Taiwan. Having recently learned about Taiwan’s regrettable behavior with US goods and shipping, I am angry and I request that the US negotiations with Taiwan concerning trade take into consideration my request.

It has come to my attention that Taiwan has been issuing fines and strange requirements on individual goods and items purchased by end consumers in Taiwan, having originated in the US.

I myself ordered a set of skateboard parts (for one skateboard only) seven months ago. They were shipped via USPS, but I have not had any word. I told the company I purchased them from that they had not arrived, so they shipped another set to a US address, which was then shipped to me well over a month ago. That second package, from home, included some airline ID cards which still has not arrived and I have received no word concerning the status of that shipment either.

Then today, an American-Taiwanese family just told me that they had ordered two pairs of headphones made in the US one year ago, but they were required to pay a fine for ordering more than one pair of headphones.

I find this to be childish and absurd. Taiwan has a long and documented history of officers at multiple levels of government being abusive with their authority, oppressing and harassing common civilians; such “bad apples” are limited, but not uncommon enough. If Taiwan wants to impose a tariff on headphones, they may do so. However, demanding an approx. US $60 fine for ordering “too many” (two total) of product through the mail—which would of course go through a rigorous customs inspection—rather than a mere standard tariff—applied to an end consumer who is not a professional in the complexities of constantly-changing trade policies—this is not acceptable behavior from a government seeking “free trade with the USA” as a “top priority”, as Taiwan has publicly stated.

I think that no one should be more disturbed about this than Taiwan’s President Tsai and Premier Lai. Those leaders are good people, but these behaviors are from an old school “swamp” that needs to be drained in Taiwan’s geriatric bureaucracy. A strong trade demand from the US concerning this matter should help Taiwan’s good president and good premier put the overdue pressure on those bureaucracies to become fair and reasonable—to stop harassing end consumers with silly requirements, such as an “import license” for low-priced, individual items received only once.

In the past, I have suggested that Taiwan and USPS have integrated tracking, but that still has not happened yet. That also might have helped for me to find out where my ID cards are, which, so far as I can guess, seem to be lost somewhere in Taiwan’s postal service, along with the package that has not arrived for seven months.

In light of all of this, I have the following proposal for trade talks:

Every shipment made via USPS to Taiwan with a tracking number, having a declared value of $1,000 USD or lower, should be confirmed as delivered by Taiwan’s government for all packages shipped since President Tsai assumed office. Any one-time purchases, which do not indicate a pattern of running a trade business, should not be subject to any fines. If fines have been issues, such as with the family friend I mentioned, those fines should be refunded double; and if any parcels under the $1,000 USD limit cannot be confirmed delivered, then the highest declared value for the parcel should be given to the addressee as a voucher in NT dollars at the best NT exchange rate during since the shipping date from the US origin, plus the cost of shipping as recorded by USPS. USPS should accommodate Taiwan by providing a list of all tracking codes of parcels shipped to Taiwan within that time frame.

Once Taiwan has satisfied and accounted for every item provided by USPS, then the United States will know that Taiwan has responsible bookkeeping, reliable parcel delivery, and will not use trade laws to harass end consumers who purchase products from a country they wish to have free trade with. Until that time, any talk of free trade with Taiwan should remain harshly closed and forbidden for Taiwan to introduce on any agenda. Of course, they should be welcome to bring up their compliance with this demand if they have any trouble, and the US should be understanding, but favor justice for the end consumer.

Lastly, and in Taiwan’s defense, and as I have mentioned before, I believe that Taiwan should be allowed to receive a kind of limited exception to some of the trade disagreements with goods and supply originating in China. While not all Chinese goods can be accepted, by allowing Taiwan an exclusive right to free or ultra-low tariff trade on some Chinese-supplied goods, possibly including a “quality control” check, the US would satisfy the needs of the American market as well as provide a means of trade that a respect-worthy Beijing should celebrate. That would also show appreciation for Taiwan, which has been a better friend to the US than we have been to Taiwan at times in the past. While this may not be entirely possible, something along these lines might be worth considering in order to develop an innovative trade model.

Again, I want to thank Presidents Trump and Tsai and also Premier Lai for not being the cause of this unfortunate behavior where Taiwan’s imported USPS parcels are concerned and I want to thank them all three in advance for gladly being part of the solution to developing better justice for the end consumer and international respect for our parcel services.

Sincerely from abroad,
Jesse Steele