Last week, the U.S. Department of State and non-profit industry group the Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade (CREATe.org), partnered to host a roundtable discussion, "Safeguarding Intellectual Property and Preventing Corruption in Global Markets." During the session, leaders from industry, government agencies, academia and non-governmental organizations discussed the increased penetration of counterfeit goods in the global supply chain, and the urgent need for collaborative public and private sector initiatives to improve supply chain integrity.
At the heart of the discussion was a central question: How can the business community, governments, and civil society generate new approaches to the immense challenges of protecting intellectual property rights and fighting corruption in the global economy? Unquestionably, the business, economic, and societal costs caused by the absence of a functioning rules-based trading system are severe. Despite increased efforts by industry and the government, global companies from all sectors continue to experience significant economic losses from piracy, counterfeit products, theft of trade secrets and corruption, along with increasing reputational risks and harm.
While there are certainly no easy answers, Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides described Secretary Clinton's economic statecraft agenda as part of the solution. He highlighted that economic statecraft is a Department-wide initiative that mobilizes all staff toward putting the American people back to work by creating better conditions abroad for U.S. exporters and investors through good governance, regulatory transparency, and protection of intellectual property rights worldwide.
Participants from both the public and private sector shared information about their efforts to address trade barriers caused by intellectual property theft and corruption. Businesses talked about their efforts to build strong compliance cultures, improve processes for protecting IP, and discourage corruption. Participants expressed the need to work together to identify best practices and develop new collaborative approaches to improve IP protection and enforcement.
Today, we had leaders from multiple industry sectors and government agencies engaged and intently focused on exploring new, collaborative approaches to meeting these complex challenges of ending corruption and rampant violation of intellectual property rights. Working together we can secure the global supply chain, promote public health and safety and create the conditions for the innovative businesses of tomorrow to flourish worldwide.