Italian officials, U.S. military near agreement in mail dispute
NAPLES, Italy — Italian customs agents in Rome have released about two dozen packages they were holding from the U.S. military mail system as both sides near an agreement on a customs dispute, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Navy base in Naples said on Monday.
Recipients of the packages, which were bound for bases in Naples and Sigonella, Sicily, will not have to pay the fees for which they were being held, said the spokeswoman, Lt. Liza Dougherty.
Italian customs officials held the packages last month after announcing that all incoming parcels bound for the U.S. military mail system would be subject to Italian taxes and customs duties. They stopped intercepting packages after Navy representatives and U.S. embassy officials disputed the new fees and both sides began meeting for discussions. U.S. officials say long-standing basing agreements between the countries prohibit the taxes, while Italian officials say they have the right to levy the fees.
Release of the packages is seen as a positive step toward a resolution, which is believed to be near, Dougherty said.