Although the finance and communications minister signed and announced a document Monday that supposedly raises postal rates, the Israel Postal Company said it was "premature as discussions on new services and rates have not yet been concluded." The Treasury issued a statement announcing that the "new rates would go into effect before the end of the year" after being prepared by a public committee that "looked in-depth into the cost systems of postal services and presented its recommendations" to the two ministers, who made slight changes and approved them. The Treasury did not say what the new rates would be, but stated that when they come into effect, the agreement would constitute "the final stage in significant reform carried out in the postal sector in recent years." The Israel Postal Company, which until last year was a state authority under direct control by the Communications Ministry, is facing a growing amount of competition due to loss of its monopoly powers. In compensation, it is being allowed to offer additional services to compete with the private market. The Postal Company spokeswoman said discussions of the general license, which empowers the company to offer new services, have not yet concluded. "There are still some open issues. Although there is progress in the negotiations, the final form of the license has not yet been agreed upon,"she said. "We are sorry that the notice of a signing was released unilaterally, without consulting the Postal Company. We have been working without a general license since the company was established, a problem that prevents the company from planning its future policy and to improve its services to the public," she added.