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By Tagi Sagafi-Nejad
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Extra info for Controlling International Technology Transfer. Issues, Perspectives, and Policy Implications
It may be cheaper to acquire a package of resources because of the spreading of joint overheads; it may be more efficient because of the related skills possessed by the technology producers, managers, technicians, chemists, and engineers whose knowledge is part of the system. In general, governments tend to underestimate the benefits of joint supply. Finally, the control over decision making often associated with the resources might itself enhance the benefits the benefits of the resources; this could result, for example, from the integration of the local affiliate (or contractée) with the T N C (or contractor); or it could result from the global sourcing, access to markets, personnel deployment, and so on that international productions make possible.
This in turn has allowed them to drive a harder bargain and acquire certain technologies on more competitive terms. Y e t it would be misleading to conclude that the TNCs have lost their ability to collect economic rents. For example, the major international oil companies are using technical aid agreements and management contracts to achieve many of the same ends they achieved through 100 percent ownership. A final comment: It would have been helpful if Dunning, in his mention of L A F T A ' s experience with complementation programs, had given a few examples to illustrate, as he says, "the value and limita- 36 INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER tions of these forms of contractual arrangements" L A F T A countries and T N C s ) .
When opportunities arise, the enterprise that can move most quickly often has the advantage. Thus it is profitable to internalize and collect the economic rents rather than allow someone else to purchase the technology and reap the economic rents. Because of this, and because of the international extension of the patent system, Dunning may be correct in his conclusion that, over time, the barriers to outright acquisition of technology have increased. International registration of patents probably does limit the number of potential suppliers.