So Why Does the U.S. Need Seven Years to Decide Whether to Sign the Maritime Labor Convention?

by Julian Ku

It is not surprising that the U.S. has not ratified the Maritime Labor Convention, which came into force yesterday seven years after its text was adopted by the ILO. As David Kaye reminds us,  the Senate is not exactly in a ratifying mood these days.

But it is worth remembering that treaty enthusiasts can’t put always blame on the Senate’s “sovereigntists” for treaty ratification problems. This appears to be a case of massive Executive Branch dilatoriness.  Not only has the U.S. State Department failed to submit the text to the Senate, the U.S. government has not even signed the treaty yet. Apparently, the five years of negotiation leading up to the agreement on the MLC’s text, plus the seven years since its adoption has not been enough time for the U.S. government’s various agencies to come up with a position on this treaty. Is there some secret controversy here that I don’t know about? What is the Coast Guard up to?   Did it just get lost in the bureaucracy somewhere?

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