Seabed mining companies will only lose rights if US remains outside of UNCLOS
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The taxation objection made by opponents is often coupled with an argument that US companies that had invested millions of dollars in exploration costs would lose their existing claims under US law. This argument ignores the fact that the 1994 Agreement grandfathers these holders into the treaty regime based on arrangements no less favorable than those granted to holders of claims already registered with the Authority upon certification by the US government and the payment of a $250,000 application fee (a fee that is half of the fee established in the 1982 Convention). As Ambassador Colson pointed out in the 1994 hearings, "If the U.S. does not become Party to the Convention, international recognition of the￼ rights of the U.S. licensed consortia could be jeopardized."
The development of deep seabed claims is incredibly expensive. Companies in the U.S. are reluctant to invest heavily in deep seabed mining because of the risk that their activities would not withstand a legal challenge since the U.S. is not a party to the Convention. Conversely, foreign companies, because their governments have joined the Convention, have access to the international bodies that grant the legal claims to operate in the deep seabed area. The U.S. cannot represent the interests of its companies in those bodies.