The VVD believes that packages from China are sent too cheaply to the Netherlands. It is estimated that there are around 27 million packages a year. Many of those packages come via the Chinese web store Alibaba.

VVD MP Weverling thinks that PostNL has made agreements with the Chinese about very low rates, he said in the NOS Radio 1 Journal. PostNL confirms that agreements have been made. "But that is the case with every major commercial party that we work with," says a spokesperson.

According to the VVD, China still benefits from the status of developing country at the World Trade Organization, while it is an economic superpower. PostNL says that within the Universal Postal Union agreements have been made in the past about lower postal rates for China. "But it has recently been agreed that the prices of letterbox packages will be brought back into line in phases. In 2021, there must be no difference anymore."

'Unfair competition'

Not only do Chinese companies benefit from lower rates, they also charge consumers less shipping costs than it actually costs. Weverling calls it unfair competition if Chinese companies keep shipping costs low for consumers, while the mail carrier receives more compensation.

"That those things are so cheap is at the expense of Dutch entrepreneurs. State Secretary Keijzer must stand in front of them," he said. He wants the agreements made between Alibabba and PostNL to be made public.

"Apples with pears"

Earlier Keijzer replied to parliamentary questions about the extremely low shipping costs that the contracts between mail carriers and senders and between mail carriers are not public. "It is possible that a web shop uses a certain sales strategy whereby the shipping costs are kept low for the consumer, but the mail carrier is reimbursed more."

Keijzer then added that apples and pears should not be compared and that all kinds of factors play a role in the rate. "In the case of the cheapest rate, the product is usually shipped by boat and the delivery can take up to 90 days," she wrote.

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