The National Marine Manufacturers Association is asking its members to urge Congress to support ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty.
The Law of Sea Convention was ratified by 160 countries, but not the United States, NMMA legislative director Jim Currie said in a letter to members on Thursday.
Currie pointed out that the treaty has been modified from its original version to meet objections from those who feared it would harm U.S. sovereignty, “though opponents of the treaty still claim that it would do so,” and that former President George W. Bush supported it in its current form.
“This treaty has been in effect internationally since 1994 and affords protections for U.S. security and economic interests,” Currie wrote.
For example, it would guarantee rights for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard — both services consistently support the treaty’s ratification — and would in certain instances extend our economic zone beyond the 200 miles now recognized internationally.
“This would allow us to exploit oil and gas deposits on the extended continental shelf and would provide the U.S. with a seat at the table when rules governing access to mineral resources are promulgated — with veto power over any rules the international body might try to make on this topic,” Currie wrote.
The NMMA has signed a letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that is in strong support of the treaty’s passage, Currie wrote.