Pernicious effect of technology transfer provision still in effect even after 1994 agreement
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Further, this approach carries an immediate risk to U.S. national security. Allegedly to ensure that the benefits of deep sea mining are properly shared, UNCLOS requires all states to “cooperate in promoting the transfer of technology and scientific knowledge” relevant to exploration and recovery activities in the deep seas.17 The 1994 supplementary agreement endorses these provisions, qualifying them only with vague assurances that technology transfer should be conducted on “fair and reasonable commercial terms and conditions, consistent with the effective protection of intellectual property rights.”18 It remains to be seen whether the Authority will assert claims to impose technology transfers in this field. It could do so by making such transfers a condition for approving permits for exploration or recovery by Western firms, since all such activity requires approval of the Authority.19 Yet even without direct demands from the Authority, the Chinese government, by invoking these provisions, managed to obtain microbathymetry equipment and advanced sonar technology from American companies in the late 1990s. China claimed to be interested in prospecting for minerals beneath the deep seas. Pentagon officials warned against sharing this technology with China, given its potential application to anti-submarine warfare. But other officials in the Clinton Administration insisted that the United States, having signed UNCLOS—even if not yet having ratified it—must honor UNCLOS obligations on technology sharing. Future administrations may be more vigilant, but the Authority may, in the future, be more insistent. That is the logic of a treaty that makes mining by firms in one country contingent on the approval of the governments in other countries.