The Newspaper Association of America last week joined the ranks of publishers and direct marketing groups lending their support to an agreement allowing US postal rates to go up in June in return for no further hikes until 2003.

As reported at the start of the year [WAMN: 03-Jan-02], several industry groups – among them the Direct Marketing Association and the Magazine Publishers of America – decided to back the idea, proposed by postmaster general John E Potter.

Initial opposition to the Postal Service’s September announcement of a rate hike – up 7.3% for marketers and 10% for publishers – became muted amid fears that the loss of postal revenue after September 11 and the anthrax scare would see charges raised even further during the lengthy appeals process.

Announcing the body’s support for the settlement, NAA president/ceo John F Sturm declared that it would be best “to find an agreement in the pending [rate] case and move forward.”

The compromise would allow the Postal Service to apply the increased rates up to three months earlier than usual, though prices would not subsequently be expected to go up again until fall 2003.

The deal is still to be approved by the Postal Rate Commission, which only finished accepting comments on the proposal on Friday.

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