USCIB letter to Senator Lugar on Ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

May 10, 2004

The Honorable Richard Lugar

Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations

450 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington DC 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I am writing on behalf of the members of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) to urge timely Senate action to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The USCIB promotes an open system of global commerce in which business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare and the protection of the environment.  Its membership includes some 300 leading U.S. companies, professional services firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3 trillion.  As American affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers, and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade. 

The United States played a leading role in negotiating the Convention in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, and led a successful effort to revise the deep-sea mining provisions of the Convention in a manner that meets U.S. interests.  Subsequently, the United States signed the Convention in 1994, but has yet to ratify.

The United States has vital economic, political and security interests that will be advanced through ratification.  By ratifying the United States will:

  • be able to restore our leadership in securing the common interest in navigational freedom and the rule of law in the oceans;
  • be more effective in our efforts to protect our naval mobility and commercial navigational freedom;
  • be able to develop more rapidly its oil and gas resources  of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles;
  • foster the rule of law in international affairs.

While some have argued that the Convention will impinge upon the sovereignty of the United States, I believe this is not the case.  Indeed, because the Convention advances U.S. national objectives in the areas it covers in a manner that will enhance our economic, political and security interests, it will in fact strengthen our country, and make it better able to defend our sovereignty as needed. On behalf of our members, I urge members of the United States Senate to ratify the Convention.

Thomas M. T.  Niles

More on USCIB’s Transportation Committee

UN website

Staff Contact:   Megan Giblin

Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
Tel: 202.371.9235

Megan Giblin manages USCIB’s work on customs policy, and provides support on trade and investment policy, handling issue management, policy development, and staff support for USCIB committees and working groups. Additionally, she serves as an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) representative to the World Customs Organization’s Harmonized Systems Committee.
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