Anti-production and anti-competitive bias of UNCLOS evident in its establishment of cartels and quotas
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As originally written, the treaty was explicit- ly intended to restrict mineral development. Among the treaty’s objectives were “rational management,” “just and stable prices,” “orderly and safe development,” and “the protection of developing countries from the adverse effects” of mineral production. The LOST explicitly limited mineral production and authorized commodity cartels (rather like OPEC). Further, the treaty placed a moratorium on the mining of some resources, such as sulfides, until the Authority adopted rules and regulations— which might never have happened.
The procedures governing mining reflect- ed that anti-production bias. A firm would have been required to survey two sites and turn one of them over gratis to the Enterprise before even applying for a permit. The Authority had the power to deny an applica- tion if the operation would violate the treaty’s anti-density and anti-monopoly provisions, aimed at U.S. operators. And the ISA’s deci- sions in this area were to be set by a subsidiary body, the Legal and Technical Commission. Developing countries would dominate the 36- member council, as they did the Assembly, leaving access of American firms to the deep seabed (that beyond national jurisdiction) dependent on the whims of countries that might oppose seabed mining for economic or political reasons.
The UNCLOS treaty was originally concieved as a way to redistribute wealth on a global scale and the international regulatory structure that remains will likely inhibit development, depress productivity, increase costs, and discourage innovation.