Starting on May 16th, 2012 you’ll no longer be able to use the US Postal Service to ship any item overseas if it contains a lithium-ion battery. That includes most recent laptops, tablets, and phones.
You can still ship batteries and the electronic gadgets that use them internationally by using UPS, FedEx, DHL, or other services. But those companies charge much higher rates than the USPS.
That could make it more difficult for individuals to send items to friends or family overseas or to ship items to buyers on eBay. It could also take a toll on companies which sell products that are shipped internationally, including companies that ship phones, computers and other devices from Asia to the US.
The good news is that ban may be temporary.
The USPS says that “on January 1, 2013, customers will be able to mail specific quantities of lithium batteries internationally.” But batteries will need to “properly installed.” In other words, it sounds like the Postal Service will spend the next few months developing specific requirements for international battery shipments.