China’s rise as a high-tech military power is central to US security concerns, while a European debate on the implications of a rising China beyond the economic sphere is conspicuous by its absence. Concerns about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) have prevailed in debates on high technology transfers to the PRC, with less attention being paid to the ‘dual use’ nature of many of these technologies that can be utilised in both civilian and military applications. Unlike the United States, the European Union has no overview on the amount and generation of sensitive technology exported to the PRC. European policy on dual-use technologies is fragmentary at best, while conflicting export regimes and shrinking investments in research and education throughout the European Union are putting the EU’s technological lead at risk. This pressure further increases the need to find outside revenues to fund innovation and the next generation of technology – which could come from the expanding Chinese market. Given the central role of dual-use technologies in today’s information-based warfare, the EU’s traditionally high level of technology exports to China has become a sensitive topic across the Atlantic in recent years, as was highlighted by the clash over the potential lifting of the EU arms embargo in 2004/2005. In sum, dual-use technology transfers touch on aspects of competitiveness and innovative capacity, market access and security concerns.High-tech, transatlantic relations, and China on the prowl: what more could you ask for in free reading materials?
A proactive policy needs to be based on a common understanding of China’s potential as a military superpower and of its likely impact on the European Union, the EU’s policies and its relationship with the United States.
The more I've read this report I linked to in an earlier post concerning the PRC's licit and illicit means of information gathering, the more I'm compelled to make a separate post of it as it really is very interesting. The gist is that there's a tradeoff between security concerns such as limits on the export of "dual-use" (military and civilian) technologies and revenue generation to ensure that Europe's innovation lead does not dwindle quickly. This situation is especially true in the context of [no surprises here] China. Yes, it's an IPE question with security dimensions: how can a systematic information-gathering apparatus be put in place that monitors the export of truly sensitive technologies abroad while not hindering exports of less-than-sensitive ones? It's good stuff from May-Britt Stumbaum. Below is the summary; you can download the entire report as well.