Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hosted US business leaders who unanimously supported US ratification of the Law of Sea Treaty. The hearing shed light on how the treaty will provide the international legal framework to advance US company’s interests.
Chairing the committee, Senator John Kerry’s opening remarks highlighted the treaty’s many important implications for US companies. “Our companies want this Treaty, bottom line, because it affects their bottom lines” Senator Kerry said in his opening remarks. Senator Kerry noted that ocean industries have unanimously supported the ratification of the treaty since 2003 and continue to press for ratification.
President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Thomas Donohue stated in his testimony the importance of codifying internationally recognized property rights in the Arctic for US companies. As noted in US Must Ratify Law of Sea Treaty, the Arctic holds enormous fossil fuel and mineral resources needed by US industries. By ratifying the Law of Sea treaty the US could submit its resource claims to an additional 4.1 million square miles of Ocean seabed (an area larger than the lower 48 states combine).
Mr. Donohue stressed the need for the US to claim valuable rare earth minerals in the Arctic, noting that rare earth minerals are a critical part of modern manufacturing, used in advanced weapons system, computers and cell phones. Mr. Donohue emphasized that China has a “near monopoly” on the land-based supply of these elements, “a reality that is of great concern for US governmental and commercial interests.”
Lowell C. McAdam, Chairman and CEO of Verizon, stressed in his testimony the need for “a comprehensive international legal regimen to protect vital communication infrastructure.” Aside from land based connection with the US and Mexico,” more than 95% of international traffic- voice, video, Internet and data- travels over 38 submarine cables” in international waters. Mr. McAdam stated that ratifying the treaty would provide “reliable international law” to protect submarine cables and put US companies on a level playing field for operating international cable systems.
The Law of Sea Treaty would clearly advance the interests of many US companies by providing the reliable international legal framework for companies to extract Arctic resources and expand international communication infrastructure.