UNCLOS uniquely sets up an international taxing authority that is a step in the wrong direction
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Problem #3: A step in the direction of international taxing authority. The Convention contains an ill-advised revenue-sharing provision that is applied to income derived from oil and gas production outside the EEZ. The general bias in the Convention, as I indicated earlier, is in favor of the redistribution of seabed resources. This bias is codified in the area of oil and gas revenues. The U.S. will be forced to pay a contribution to the International Sea-Bed Authority created by the treaty based on a percentage of its production in the applicable area beyond the 200-mile limit.
While he asserted the argument against this revenue-sharing provision was unconvincing, State Department Legal Advisor William H. Taft IV acknowledged it was an argument that could be made in the course of October 21, 2003 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Mr. Taft understates the problem. By any reasonable definition, this provision would for the first time allow a U.N.-affiliated international authority to impose a tax directly on the U.S. for economic activity. At least, I am unaware of any precedent for this kind of international taxing authority.
Shoring up the state system, as recommended by former Secretary of State Shultz, means that international institutions should be funded by the voluntary contributions of their member states. The extent to which these international institutions are allowed access to independent streams of revenue is the extent to which they will seek to obtain governing authority at the expense of the state system. While the revenue-sharing provision related to oil and gas production in the Convention is a relatively modest step in this direction, it is still a step in the wrong direction.