Remarks by Ambassador Blake at the U.S.-Indonesia Commercial Dialogue Intellectual Property Policy and Innovation Roundtable

Selamat pagi Deputy Minister Rizal, Ibu Widya and distinguished guests. It gives me great pleasure to participate in this roundtable event to provide an opportunity for intellectual property stakeholders to exchange information and best practices. I want to commend the Ministry of Trade, Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, as well as other ministries for supporting this event and making IP policy and protection a priority for the government of Indonesia. A robust IP environment can be a catalyst for economic growth, and is vital to promoting innovation and creativity in Indonesia by securing and enforcing the rights of innovators. In speaking about intellectual property rights and protection, President Obama has said: “Our single greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity and creativity of the American people.” Similarly, as the Indonesian government continues to strengthen its IP environment, innovation can be one of Indonesia’s greatest assets and will benefit Indonesia, its economy and its people.

I would like to share how intellectual property affects our daily lives and not only impacts consumers, but also global economies. The U.S. creative and innovative sectors, which account for more than 40% of the U.S. GDP and more than 60% of all U.S. exports, produce everything from entertainment and educational content to everyday consumer products. In short, almost everything we wear, eat, consume, and enjoy in our daily lives. In the United States, the average consumer encounters daily more than a thousand products or goods that have intellectual property rights (IPR) protection. Indeed intellectual property is at the root of all modern and developed economies. Yet, intellectual property piracy and counterfeiting is threatening markets of nearly every country in the world. The scale of the problem is alarming. Fake goods are being traded in huge quantities; local film and recording industries are severely impacted; and knowledge-based products are being illegally copied in large but unknown numbers. Between 7-10% of all trade in hard goods globally is estimated to be counterfeit goods. Estimates of global economic losses due to counterfeiting and piracy run to as high as $250-$500 billion a year. Because of the increase in Internet usage worldwide, digital piracy—such as unlicensed downloads and illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing—is also becoming more and more problematic. While economic, commercial and trade estimates of such losses are compelling and have been well documented, the loss in life and injury to human beings is more difficult to calculate but the estimated number of cases is alarming. While the exact number cannot be determined, various experts and international organizations, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, estimate that millions every year either die or suffer injuries or illness as a result of counterfeit products.

Changing consumer attitudes must be a crucial component in creating a more robust vibrant IP eco-system. This requires sustained and enthusiastic partnership and collaboration between IP rights holders, civil society and the public sector. This is a challenge for all countries, not only emerging economies. Whether bilaterally or regionally within ASEAN or APEC, the United States is committed to a sustained effort of working with Indonesia to develop and implement public awareness and education programs which highlight the importance of IP protection and enforcement for economic growth. As ASEAN moves to a single market with the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, and individual member states implement their IP-related commitments and harmonize their approaches to IP protection and enforcement, there will be a greater need for transnational and regional cooperation, leadership, and resources to make stronger protection and enforcement of intellectual property an ASEAN a reality.

Our two governments are already working together on several initiatives related to IPR protection, including an IP action plan to strengthen the legislative and regulatory framework, revitalize enforcement and raise public awareness about the benefits of IP protection in Indonesia. Just last week, I shared the stage with Ibu Widya at another IP event as MIAP launched its Safe Medicines and Cosmetics Public Service Announcement contest. We are pleased to support this effort with a grant from the U.S. government to help raise public awareness about the dangers of counterfeit drugs. The contest is also supported by the Indonesian Directorate General for Intellectual Property, the Ministry of Health, and the Indonesian Food and Drug Agency (BPOM) as well as private sector stakeholders. Another example is USAID’s “Promoting Quality Medicine” program, which is a collaboration between U.S Pharmacopeia and BPOM to set up labs around the country to test the efficacy of tuberculosis and other drugs. Today’s event is also a result of our bilateral cooperation as it is part of an “IP and Empowerment” project that was proposed by the U.S. private sector and approved under the auspices of the U.S.-Indonesia Commercial Dialogue.

To sum up, the impact of counterfeits and pirated goods is real. Millions of jobs are lost, or never created, as a result of counterfeits and piracy, and developing economies will find it harder and harder to achieve sustained economic growth unless the problem is addressed effectively. As Indonesia emphasizes building its “creative economy,” I and my colleagues at the American Embassy welcome the opportunity to work together with Indonesia to identify additional areas for cooperation in the area of IPR protection to help Indonesia take advantage of its peoples’ creativity and innovation and support the country’s long-term economic development goals. The U.S. Embassy is also committed to working with the Indonesian public and private sectors to provide programs that help to educate IP rights holders, such as innovators and entrepreneurs, and to change consumer attitudes about pirated goods in Indonesia. Thank you to all of the IP stakeholders who have gathered here today to participate in this important event. I look forward to hearing your ideas and to collaborating on future IP initiatives.