Straits Cartel

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The Straits Cartel is a strategic economic alliance to control and monetized the major straits of Anaria.

Contents

Background

Access to critical straits is considered a primary cause of the Pan Anarian War. Control of strategic straits has traditionally been considered an exclusive right of nations whose territory formed the strait. However, such control was not universally recognized nor was access formally defined. The treaty's architect, Jakob av Varung, believed a treaty recognizing and formalizing control of strategic straits would encourage trade and prevent future conflict.

Treaty of Ærilar

The Treaty of Ærilar was signed on August 28, 7574 at Ærilar by representatives of Aedeland, Amberia, Anat Tahan, Anisora, Auresia, Halland, United Royal Provinces, and Helreich. The treaty is also known as the Common Tariff or the Straits Treaty.

The Council of Ærilar was the largest international conference since Nisipari and the fist such conference on Aedelish soil. The signatories met at Fornsigsala, the hilltop fortress overlooking Ærilar, and were treated to parades, a military tattoo, and naval demonstrations. The key points of Varung's proposal were accepted by all signatories but the negotiations were at risk of failing due to a number of regional jealousies. Aedeland wanted to address Hellish farming of schwarm whales in traditional Aldsegian North Sea fishing grounds. Aedeland's PAW-era allies joined Aedeland's concerns over Hellish economic aggressions. Helreich pushed back, only recognizing an exclusive economic zone 10 nautical miles from the baseline of a coastal state. Hallis and Amberia accused Auresia and Aedeland of unfair trade practices. Amberia protested Hallish economic incursions in her waters near Jandze (also known as Great Edwin's Land). Similarly, Anisora protested Anat Tahan's incursions in its sovereign waters at the Western Strait.

Representatives from Vittmark, the only non-signatory nation to attend the conference, strongly denounced the idea of tarriffs at the straits.

Key Points

  • The sovereignty of a coastal State extending 12 nautical miles both over the waters and under the surface beyond its land territory and internal waters to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea to include straits and their immediate approaches lying within. Where extending zones to 12 nm leads to overlapping claims, zones shall be equitably reduced.
  • The exclusive fishing area to 100 nautical miles from the coastline for non-signatory nations, but open it to fishing for other signatory nations.
  • The common specific tariff, collected annually, on all commercial traffic from non signatory states transiting straits and their immediate approaches.
  • The reciprocated freedom of continuous and expeditious navigation for commercial and non submerged military transit without threat or use of force.
  • The duty to assist a vessel in distress.

Consequences

The assassination of Jakob av Varung

Jakob av Varung and his family were murdered on September 4, 7574, upon his return from the conference to his family's estate. His suspected murderer was Svante av Slo, an Aedelish merchant marine who had gone missing in Vittmark. Investigators were unable to determine motive. Svante av Slo elected in accordance with Aedelish law to be exiled to the Wolgos Bind in leu of trial. Investigators suspected that Svante av Slo did not act alone and the investigation is on going.

The assassination of a high state official led to the creation of a specialized body guard known as the Statensikkerhet (SS). This was a highly controversial development as such agencies are considered by many Aedelanders as the mark of an oppressive regime.

Anisoran vote of no confidence

The signing of the Treaty was a controversial move in Anisora, as the issue of free trade had dominated (and divided) Anisoran politics for the last ten years. The signing of the Treaty by Anisora brought about the collapse of the government of Sir Giulio Tarentina, due to significant divisions within his cabinet which forced him to resign after a vote of no confidence. In the subsequent federal election Sir Alessandro Nicotera-Sarno, a known anti-protectionist and outspoken critic of the Treaty, gained a near majority in the Chamber of Deputies in October 7574 and vehemently attacked the Treaty, with many suspecting his ultimate goal to be the undermining of the Treaty and an eventual Anisoran exit.

Vittmarker resisistance

During council deliberations Vittmark began isolating Port Concessions controlled by nations attending the Council of Ærilar. A series of closures, failures, and administrative oversights disrupted services and access. This as a protest to what Vittmark has described as an "unfair unilateral action", which would affect trade with Vittmark disproportionally. Most signatory nations agreed to a two year non-enforcement period to determine how best to implement and enforce the tariff.

Fjällsta Stift has tried to negotiate a separate working platform around the Treaty. The congregation and member state has its own shipping registry and is allowed to formulate separate international agreements. The proposal was to pay a fixed sum per capita per year. Since Fjällsta only encompasses about 3% of the population, the signatory nations refused this as a clear attempt to get all Vittmarker trade under Treaty regulations for a very low sum of compensation.

By August of 7576 no solution for implementation of the tariffs had been presented. Vittmark declared itself non-bound to the contents of the Treaty. "A Treaty that can not be enforced is a work of fiction," as First Chancellor Ödebo put it in the cabinet's official statement. In response, Aedeland's foreign office released a statement reaffirming Aedeland's "commitment to a diplomatic approach to enforcement". This also ended the negotiations by Fjällsta, who follow the federal policy regarding Ærilar. Most issues of trade however have been resolved by the open shipping registry of Anisora, as well as the opening of an exclusive polar route circumvening The Bind. This means that Vittmarker merchants do not have to enter any of the straits subject to the Treaty. The only active opposition to the Treaty is fishing in the 100 nm exclusive area of Aedeland, which Vittmark has not accepted.

Anisoran Flag of Convenience

The new Liberal government under the premiership of Sir Alessandro Nicotera-Sarno, operating on a strong anti-protectionist free trade platform introduced a controversial flag of convenience policy in November 7574. Anisora opened its shipping registry for merchant vessels owned and operated by Vittmarker companies. About a third of Vittmark's merchant fleet was registered with Anisora through the Port Concession in Talpå, thus avoiding becoming subject to the Common Tariff. Aedeland responded by having agents of the Sørtarnland Company in Anisora file a civil suit against the Flag of Convenience Policy claiming Anisora lacked jurisdiction to register ships in Talpå. However, the court case was dropped. The case highlighted the need for arbitration rules in the original Treaty as there were no further legal means to enforce in states like Anisora. However, Aedeland refused to submit to extra-legal international arbitration as treaties do carry the force of law in Aedeland and the translation of international commands into domestic legal standards is part and parcel of sovereignty which Aedeland will not surrender to international control.

Protocols of Gadalhem

The Protocols of Gadelhem were signed April 10, 7479 at Tasmandorp Castle, on the outskirts of Gadalhem by representatives of Aedeland, Amberia, Anat Tahan, United Royal Provinces, and Helreich. It is also known as the Straits Protocols.

The Council of Gadelhem was called to primarily address the circumvention of the Treaty of Ærilar by the Anisoran Flag of Convenience Policy. The key points of Aedelish Lord Foreign Secretary Vilhelm av Hólarung were accepted with limited debate. Representatives of the United Royal Provinces suggested the creation of an para-national enforcement and inspection organization to foster better co-operation between states and also serve to encourage transparency. Aedeland, Anisora, and Auresia opposed the proposal as a violation of national sovereignty. A compromise was found in the creation of an auditory inspection regime that lacked enforcement authority. However, Anisora rejected any framework that would ensure compliance.

The protocols were adopted by a vote of five to two with Auresia joining Anisora in leaving the cartel.

Key Points

  • Expanded the definition of vessels subject to the tariff to include all traffic owned or profited from, in full or in part, by a person or entity residing in a non-signatory state transiting straits and their immediate approaches
  • Created a registration process in which vessels satisfying their tariff obligations are registered and issued a flag of convenience
  • Formulated how revenues will be divided amongst signatory powers
  • Reiterated the sovereignty of the straits
  • Established an auditory council to create an inspection and reporting regime to ensure compliance and facilitate mutual aid
  • Created procedure for amending and expelling members in violation of the protocols.

Consequences

Political Realignment

Disagreements over the protocols led to a cooling of relations between Auresia and the remaining cartel members. Anisora and Auresia were drawn closer following the Council of Gadelhem.

Control of Anarian Straits

The Cartel lost control of the Medio Sea as well as the shipping route from the Sol Sea to the Sinean Sea through the Medio and the year-round route from the Stolvic Ocean to the Shangti. However, the cartel maintained control of shipping routes from the Sinean Sea to the North Sea and Ovestan Sea and from the Aeylish Sea to the Settant Sea. Furthermore, Vittmark lost the protection of the Anisoran Flag of Convenience Policy.

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