UNCLOS ratification would bolster U.S. efforts to promote and protect international trade
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Another key mission of the Coast Guard is to promote safe and secure international trade. The convention promotes freedom of navigation and overfight, by which international shipping and transportation fuel and supply the global economy. Some 90 percent of global trade tonnage, totaling more than $6 trillion in value including oil, iron ore, coal, grain, and other commodities, building materials, and manufactured goods, are transported by sea every year.7
Currently, little international trade travels through the Arctic, but this is changing and will continue to increase in the decades ahead as the ice cover continues to recede and marine transportation technology advances. Moreover, there is considerable destinational shipping even now, such as to bring critical supplies to the North Slope and Alaskan coastal villages, and to remove vast amounts of minerals from the treasure trove in the Brooks Range in northwestern Alaska.
By guaranteeing merchant vessels the right to navigate through international straights, archipelagic waters, and coastal waters, the provisions of the convention promote dynamic international trade. Free navigation reduces costs and eliminates delays that would occur if coastal states were able to impose various restrictions on navigational rights.