Parscale Calls for U.S. to Stop Subsidizing Amazon Shipping from Foreign Countries

Trump 2020 Campaign Manager Brad Parscale has called for the United States to stop subsidizing shipping from China and other foreign countries, hurting U.S. small businesses.

Bloomberg reported that President Trump has called for a commission led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to investigate the U.S. Postal service and their relationship with companies including Amazon.

Parscale explained to President Trump and White House aides that China’s subsidized rates come from a 144 year old agreement from the Universal Postal Union, part of the United Nations.

As reported by Bloomberg 

President Donald Trump issued a surprise order on Thursday for his administration to study the U.S. Postal Service after his campaign manager complained to him that taxpayers were subsidizing Amazon.com Inc. at the expense of small businesses, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It wasn’t clear whether Trump’s conversation with his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, proved to be the catalyst for the executive order. Even so, Parscale would’ve found a sympathetic ear in the president, who has inveighed against Amazon and its deal with the Postal Service in recent weeks.

Trump’s order calls for a commission — to be led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — to examine the Postal Service’s finances, including its relationship with shippers like Amazon and the prices it charges them. The order didn’t mention Amazon, but it was interpreted as a first step toward turning the president’s rhetorical attacks on the company into policy. The stock fell about 1.2 percent on Friday.

Elaine Kamarck, director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution said that increasing the cost of shipping would have a particularly strong impact on rural areas — harming not only Amazon but also Trump because it would hit his political base.

“Imagine if you had to pay the real price of delivering to a farmhouse in the middle of Montana,” Kamarck said. “That begins to add an awful lot of dollars to the price of their goods.”

‘Destroying Small Businesses’

Trump has accused Amazon of draining the Postal Service of money it can’t afford to lose. The Postal Service has lost more than $65 billion over the past decade as Americans increasingly transmit messages online, according to the order.

Parscale has vented to Trump about the shipping issue for more than a year, and has taken his criticism public in recent weeks. His complaints center on arcane international shipping agreements, which he said were forcing American taxpayers to subsidize the company while hurting small businesses, said the person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The order, however, focuses on domestic rates and delivery. It makes no mention of international agreements — a role for the State Department.

Parscale told Trump, as well as White House aides and policy staff, about purported benefits Amazon and eBay Inc. receive in the form of subsidized rates on shipments from China and elsewhere, the person said. He said the benefits stem from the 144-year-old, 192-nation Universal Postal Union, now a part of the United Nations, which sets rates for international shipping, including discounts for developing countries.