Donohue to Senate: Pass the Law of the Sea Treaty

Jun 28, 2012

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue testifies before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the Law of the Sea Convention. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today in support of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOS). The treaty has bipartisan support including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Colin Powell, and Condoleeza Rice.

Donohue will make the case that the Senate approving the treaty will be in both the United States’ economic and national security interests.

On helping the U.S. economically, Donohue will state:

Becoming a party to the Treaty benefits the U.S. economically by providing American companies the legal certainty and stability they need to hire and invest. Companies will be hesitant to take on the investment risk and cost to explore and develop the resources of the sea – particularly on the extended continental shelf (ECS) – without the legal certainty and stability accession to LOS provides. The benefits of joining cut across many important industries including telecommunications, mining, shipping, and oil and natural gas.

Oceans also promise enormous frontiers of untapped resources. Development of hydrocarbon resources on the U.S. ECS in the Arctic and elsewhere would create thousands of new jobs for Americans, generate billions of dollars in new economic activity, and increase our energy security. Similarly, mining on the U.S. ECS and the deep seabed presents vast new opportunities to tap into deposits of manganese, nickel, cobalt, copper, and vital rare earth minerals.

On national security, he will say:

At any given time, hundreds of U.S. flag ships and ships owned by U.S. companies rely on the freedom of navigation rights codified in the Treaty while crossing the world’s oceans. While we can always rely on the U.S. Navy to ensure lawful passage of U.S.-flagged and owned ships, it only makes sense to join with the international community in establishing and protecting lawful passage on the high seas.

As the world’s pre-eminent maritime power with one of the longest coastlines, the U.S. has more than any other country to gain—and to lose—based on how the Treaty’s terms are interpreted and applied. Our national interests are best protected by being an active participant in this process.

“LOS will continue to form the basis of maritime law with or without our accession. Our national interests are best protected by being an active participant in this process,” Donohue will say.

Donohue's testimony is below.


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