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260 Direct Sacks of Printed Matter to One Addressee (M-Bags)

261 General Description

261.1 Definition

Direct sacks of printed matter to a single foreign addressee, which are also known as M-bags, are subject to the following conditions of mailing:

• Maximum weight: 66 pounds (including the tare weight of the sack).

• Availability: All destinations that are referenced in the Individual Country Listings.

• Identification: PS Tag 158, M-Bag Addressee Tag, must be completed and attached to the neck of the sack.

• Postage: The applicable airmail, economy (formerly surface), or International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) postage must be affixed to PS Tag 158.

• Special services: Certificate of mailing and recorded delivery are available. Return receipts and restricted delivery are available in conjunction with recorded delivery. Registry and insurance are not available.

261.2 Allowable Contents

261.21 Printed Matter

Printed matter is admissible in M-bags. Printed matter is defined as paper on which words, letters, characters, figures, images, or any combination thereof, not having the character of a bill or statement of account, or of actual or personal correspondence, have been reproduced by any process other than handwriting or typewriting. Articles that meet the printed matter definition include newspapers, magazines, journals, books, sheet music, catalogues, directories, commercial advertising, and promotional matter.

261.22 Merchandise

Articles of merchandise may be enclosed in M-bags, provided that all of the following conditions of mailing are met:

a. The merchandise items being sent are limited to disks, tapes, and cassettes; commercial samples shipped by manufacturers and distributors; or other non-dutiable commercial articles or informational materials that are not subject to resale.

b. The merchandise items relate to the printed matter (see 261.21) with which they are being mailed.

c. The merchandise items are affixed to or are otherwise combined with the accompanying printed matter.

d. The weight of each mailpiece or package, which contains merchandise in combination with printed matter, may not exceed 4 pounds.

e. The M-bag must be accompanied by a fully completed PS Form 2976, Customs - CN 22 (Old C1) and Sender's Declaration, which is to be affixed to PS Tag 158, M-bag Addressee Tag.

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262 Postage

262.1 Rates

262.11 Airmail M-bags

M-bags that are paid for at the airmail rate of postage may contain any type of allowable printed matter or merchandise items (see 261.22). See the Individual Country Listings for the minimum bag charge for "weights up to 11 pounds" and the per-pound rate for "each additional pound or fraction of a pound" over 11 pounds.

262.12 Economy (Surface) M-bags

Economy (surface) M-bags that contain either publishers' periodicals (see 294) or books and sheet music (see 295) are subject to postage rates that are specifically applicable to those two categories of printed matter. Mailers who enter other types of qualifying printed matter, or printed matter in combination with allowable merchandise items, are required to pay the "regular" M-bag postage rates. See the Individual Country Listings for the minimum bag charge for "weights up to 11 pounds" and the per-pound rate for "each additional pound or fraction of a pound" over 11 pounds.

Exception: The 200 pieces or 50 pounds minimum entry requirement (see 295.12) does not apply to books and sheet music that are enclosed in an M-bag. Economy (surface) M-bags containing that category of printed matter may be tendered at either Postal Service retail counters or bulk mail acceptance locations.

262.13 International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) M-bags

M-bags that are entered in conjunction with an International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) mailing (see 293) may contain all types of allowable printed matter or merchandise items (see 261.22). See 293.71 for the rate of postage that applies to M-bags mailed to each ISAL destination country.

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262.2 Payment of Postage

262.21 Postage Calculation

The amount of postage paid by the mailer is determined by the weight of the sack's contents, rounded to the next whole pound. For example, if the total weight of the printed matter in an M-bag is 23.2 pounds, exclusive of the tare weight of the sack, the postage computation is based on a total content weight of 24 pounds.

262.22 Stamps, Postage Meter, PVI Labels, or Permit Imprint

M-bag postage can be paid by the following means:

a. By affixing postage stamps, meter stamps, or a postage validation imprinter (PVI) label to PS Tag 158, M-Bag Addressee Tag.

b. By placing a permit imprint on PS Tag 158, M-Bag Addressee Tag, and making payment through an advance deposit account. When this method of payment is used, the minimum quantity requirement (i.e., 200 pieces or 50 pounds) that is normally a prerequisite for permit imprint usage (see 152.32) does not apply. The postage amount must be accounted for on PS Form 3651-M, Postage Statement - International M-Bag - Permit Imprint. (Note: PS Form 3651-M is not to be used when publishers' periodicals are mailed in M-bags. See 294.262)

263 Weight and Size Limits

263.1 Weight Limits

There is no minimum weight requirement for the entry of airmail M-bags, economy (surface) M-bags, or International Surface (ISAL) M-bags. The maximum weight limit for any type of M-bag is 66 pounds, which includes the tare weight of the sack.

Note: Customers who tender M-bags that weigh less than 11 pounds are required to pay the minimum "11-pound bag charge" that is applicable to the country of destination where the sack and its contents are to be delivered.

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263.2 Size Limits

There are no defined size limits so long as articles being sent can be enclosed in the mailbag.

264 Preparation Requirements

264.1 Marking

Printed matter, or printed matter in combination with merchandise items, must be placed into one or more individual packages bearing the name and address of the sender and addressee. Each package must be marked "POSTAGE PAID - M-BAG."

264.2 Sacking and Labeling

264.21 Equipment

The sacks and mailing tags (i.e., PS Tag 158) needed for M-bag entry can be obtained from local Post Office facilities. Airmail pouches, if available, will be furnished to customers who intend to utilize that type of M-bag service.

264.22 Tagging

PS Tag 158, M-Bag Addressee Tag, must be completed and attached to the neck of the sack. It must bear the requisite amount of stamped or metered postage or the sender's authorized permit imprint or indicia (see 262.2).

264.23 Multiple Sacks to One Addressee

If multiple sacks are sent to the same foreign addressee, PS Tag 158 must be marked with an identifiable fraction such as 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, etc.

264.24 Country Destination Name

The Post Office facility must label the sack with the name of the country of destination in large letters and the name of the U.S. dispatching exchange office in small letters (for example, Great Britain via New York), and send it to that exchange office for dispatch to destination.

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264.3 Customs Forms Required

M-bags that contain potentially dutiable printed matter or any category of printed matter that is combined with allowable merchandise items (see 261.22) must be accompanied by a fully completed PS Form 2976, Customs - CN 22 (Old C1) and Sender's Declaration, which is to be affixed to PS Tag 158, M-bag Addressee Tag.

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