9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m., Monday, July 9, 2018
Good morning and welcome to all of you here today. Thank you to Secretary General Stavros Boublakis for opening up the facility for us today and all of our hosts from the Hellenic Financial and Economic Crime unit, I also want to say thank you to Anca from the U.S. Department of Justice, Susan and the team from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and of course Doug and all our Embassy colleagues from the Department of Homeland Security. I also want to salute all of you, who have a critically important role to play as Greece moves out of an extraordinarily difficult economic period and into an era that we are confident will characterized by renewed growth and opportunity.
As it exits its bailout program next month, Greece is poised to launch a new and productive chapter, for the economy and Greek society as a whole. I’ve seen already a renewed appetite from the U.S. for opportunities in Greece, both from American companies already working in this country but looking to expand, as well as from new U.S. companies hoping to enter the Greek market. These opportunities carry with them the prosepct for new jobs and for cooperation in new sectors of the economy, whether it’s Greece’s vibrant startup ecosystem, in the film and audiovisual industry, in medical devices and pharmaceuticals sector, or in retail trade.
Unlocking Greece’s full potential and attracting the foreign investment that is so critical to economic growth, though, means ensuring that Greece is a country where all firms have the full protection they expect and where there is a fair playing field for competition. Robust enforcement of intellectual property rights is a huge component of that effort. We already have seen a renewed commitment of the Greek government to this effort, and that commitment was recognized by our Secretary of Commerce in his recent meetings with Greek officials. It’s an issue that comes up constantly in my discussions with the Ministry of Economy.
But as we can see from the broad makeup of the group here today, getting intellectual property rights right isn’t solely a law enforcement issue, a policy issue, or a legal issue – it reaches across all the different disciplines of government. For our part, we have representatives here from DHS and DOJ, who are both responsible for enforcing and prosecuting IPR laws. DHS Homeland Security Investigations is one of the leading agencies for IPR investigations and has established its National IPR Enforcement Center to enhance cooperation with the other law enforcement agencies, DOJ, Department of Commerece, and the private sector.
And I want you all to know that my team at the Embassy, as well as our colleagues from Washington and throughout the U.S. government, are here to help you in whatever way we can in the effort to modernize these policies and practices. The work that you are undertaking today is additionally significant as it will help to ensure that the many American businesses and innovators coming this September to the Thessaloniki International Fair will see that they will encounter a level playing field in Greece and can effectively tap into Greece’s enormous pool of talent while ensuring the protection of their knowledge.
So thank you all for dedicating the time this week and to working together. I hope you all enjoy, and most importantly profit from this program.