Postal Service unveils price hikes, denies they’re meant to hurt Amazon

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed a series of price hikes including for a package delivery program used by Amazon, but the agency denied that the increases have anything to do with President Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on the company.

The changes announced Wednesday include an increase of up to 12 percent for the Parcel Select service. Large shippers like Amazon use that option to complete the final leg of delivery for packages. But the extent of the impact on Amazon was not immediately clear. Amazon, like other bulk users of the Postal Service, negotiates a special rate with USPS that is not publicly disclosed.

Amazon declined to comment on the price hikes, and the Postal Service declined to answer questions about any potential impact on the company. The increases for Parcel Select were steeper than in previous years. USPS said the new rates are the result of a review process and are set to take effect on Jan. 27, subject to approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Trump has repeatedly alleged that Amazon is to blame for the Postal Service’s financial woes, and accuses the e-commerce giant of ripping off the agency and treating it like a "delivery boy." The president created a special task force in April to examine the Postal Service’s business model, sparking speculation that he would use it to raise shipping rates on Amazon. Trump equates Amazon with The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and is a target of Trump’s anger about media coverage.

Asked whether Trump’s criticisms of Amazon or the White House task force influenced the Postal Service’s decision, USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said, “The answer is no.”

“The price increases reflect the best judgment of the Postal Service Governors, who are seeking to establish new rates that will keep the Postal Service competitive, while also providing the Postal Service with much needed revenue,” Partenheimer added.

The Treasury Department, which is leading the postal task force, has said the recommendations would be made public by year’s end.

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