Postal Regulatory Commission.
The Commission is noticing a recently-filed Postal Service request to enter into an additional bilateral agreement with HongKong Post Group. This document invites public comments on the request and addresses several related procedural steps.
Comments are due: November 30, 2011, 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time
Submit comments electronically by accessing the “Filing Online” link in the banner at the top of the Commission's Web site (http://www.prc.gov) or by directly accessing the Commission's Filing Online system at https://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/filing-online/login.aspx. Commenters who cannot submit their views electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section as the source for case-related information for advice on alternatives to electronic filing.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, at (202) 789-6820 (case-related information) or DocketAdmins@prc.gov (electronic filing assistance).
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II. Notice of Filing
III. Ordering Paragraphs
On November 14, 2011, the Postal Service filed a notice, pursuant to 39 CFR 3010.40 et seq., and Order No. 549, that it has entered into a bilateral agreement with HongKong Post Group (HongKong Post 2012 Agreement or Agreement), which it seeks to include in the Inbound Market Dominant Multi-Service Agreements with Foreign Postal Operators 1 product.
The Notice concerns the portion of a bilateral agreement with the HongKong Post Group for inbound competitive services that the Postal Service contends is similar and functionally equivalent to agreements already included in the Inbound Market Dominant Multi-Service Agreements with Foreign Postal Operators 1 product. Id. at 2.
In support of its Notice, the Postal Service filed two attachments as follows: Attachment 1—an application for non-public treatment of materials to maintain redacted portions of the agreement and supporting documents under seal and Attachment 2—a redacted copy of the HongKong Post 2012 Agreement. The Postal Service also provided a redacted version of the supporting financial documentation as a separate Excel file.
In Order No. 549, the Commission approved the Inbound Market Dominant Multi-Service Agreements with Foreign Postal Operators 1 product and the Strategic Bilateral Agreement between United States Postal Service and Koninklijke TNT Post BV and TNT Post Pakketservice Benelux BV (TNT Agreement) and the China Post Group-United States Postal Service Letter Post Bilateral Agreement (CPG Agreement). In Order No. 700, the Commission approved the functionally equivalent HongKong Post Agreement (HongKong Post Agreement).
In Order 871, the Commission approved the functionally equivalent China Post 2011 Agreement.
HongKong Post 2012 Agreement. The Postal Service and HongKong Post, the postal operator for Hong Kong are parties to the HongKong Post 2012 Agreement. The Agreement covers, inter alia, the delivery of inbound Letter Post, Start Printed Page 72453in the form of letters, flats, small packets, bags, and International Registered Mail service for Letter Post. It also includes an ancillary service for delivery confirmation scanning with Letter Post small packets. Notice at 4; Attachment 2 at 10. The Postal Service states that the proposed inbound market dominant rates are intended to become effective on January 1, 2012, and to remain in effect for 1 year. Id. at 3; Attachment 2 at 6. The HongKong Post 2012 Agreement provides that it becomes effective after all regulatory approvals have been received, notification to HongKong Post, and mutual agreement on an effective date. Id., Attachment 2 at 1. The Agreement however, may be terminated by either party on no less than 30 days' written notice. Id., Attachment 2 at 2.
Requirements under part 3010. The Postal Service states that the projected financial performance of the HongKong Post 2012 Agreement is provided in the Excel file included with its filing. It contends that improvements should enhance mail efficiency and other functions for Letter Post items under the Agreement. Id. at 4-5.
The Postal Service asserts that the Agreement should not cause unreasonable harm in the marketplace since it is unaware of any significant competition in this market. Id. at 5-6.
Under 39 CFR 3010.43, the Postal Service is required to submit a data collection plan. The Postal Service indicates that it intends to report information on this Agreement through its Annual Compliance Report. While indicating its willingness to provide information on mailflows within the annual compliance review process, the Postal Service proposes that no special data collection plan be established for this Agreement. With respect to performance measurement, it requests that the Commission exempt the HongKong Post 2012 Agreement from separate reporting requirements under 39 CFR 3055.3(a)(3) as determined in Order Nos. 549, 700, and 871 for the Agreements in Docket Nos. R2010-5 and R2010-6, R2011-4, and R2011-7, respectively. Id. at 7.
The Postal Service advances reasons why the instant Agreement is functionally equivalent to the previously filed CPG Agreement, TNT Agreement, HongKong Post Agreement and China Post 2011 Agreement. It contends that it contains the same attributes and methodology and fits within the Mail Classification Schedule language for the Inbound Multi-Service Agreements with the Foreign Postal Operators 1 product. Id. at 8-10. Additionally, it states that the HongKong Post 2012 Agreement includes similar terms and conditions, e.g., is with a foreign postal operator, conforms to a common description, and relates to rates for Letter Post tendered from the postal operator's territory. Id. at 9.
The Postal Service identifies specific terms that distinguish the instant Agreement from the three existing agreements. These distinctions include clarifying legal requirements, revised rates, term, signatory, and other changes. Id. at 10-11. The Postal Service contends that the instant Agreement is nonetheless functionally equivalent to existing agreements. Id. at 11.
In its Notice, the Postal Service maintains that certain portions of the Agreement, prices, and related financial information should remain under seal. Id. at 11-12; id. Attachment 1.
The Postal Service concludes that the HongKong Post 2012 Agreement should be added as a functionally equivalent agreement under the Inbound Market Dominant Multi-Service Agreements with Foreign Postal Operators 1 product. Id. at 12.
II. Notice of Filing
Interested persons may submit comments on whether the Postal Service's filing in the captioned docket is consistent with the policies of 39 U.S.C. 3622 and 39 CFR part 3010.40. Comments are due no later than November 30, 2011. The public portions of these filings can be accessed via the Commission's Web site (http://www.prc.gov).
The Commission appoints James F. Callow to serve as Public Representative in this docket.
III. Ordering Paragraphs
It is ordered:
1. The Commission establishes Docket No. R2012-4 to consider matters raised by the Postal Service's Notice.
2. Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505, James F. Callow is appointed to serve as officer of the Commission (Public Representative) to represent the interests of the general public in this proceeding.
3. Comments by interested persons in this proceeding are due no later than November 30, 2011.
4. The Secretary shall arrange for publication of this order in the Federal Register.
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By the Commission.
Ruth Ann Abrams,
[FR Doc. 2011-30279 Filed 11-22-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P