Opening Remarks at the U.S.-Poland Innovation Program Council Meeting

Scott Nathan
Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs 
InterContinental Hotel Century City
Los Angeles, CA
November 17, 2014

Thank you Minister Duch for introducing Poland’s council members and other distinguished officials in attendance today. I am happy to see so many familiar friends and partners. I think we have both assembled an impressive group of individuals and institutions. I look forward to the good work we will do together in the future through the Poland-U.S. Innovation Program or PLUS-IP.

Our bilateral relationship has never been better. An important cornerstone of this relationship is our economic cooperation. In June, President Obama spoke in Warsaw, emphasizing the importance of Poland’s economic progress, noting: “As you drive through Warsaw, you see that Poland is a country on the move, one with one of the largest and fastest-growing economies in Europe, a manufacturing powerhouse, and a hub of high-tech innovation.”

Poland is indeed on the move and U.S. businesses and institutions are in the mix. America’s most innovative companies are investing in Poland. 3M Corporation is opening an IT services center for Europe, Africa and the Middle East out of Wroclaw. In Western Poland, Amazon brought three new logistics centers online for Europe. Google is opening Google Campus Warsaw to foster high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship and already has a research and development center in Krakow. Bristol-Myers Squibb has its regional clinical research center in Poland. Corning Optical advances fiber optic and telecom research and development near Lodz and GE continues Thomas Edison’s legacy through its engineering design center in Krakow.

We also share strong ties between our universities. California Academy of Science, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, Virginia Tech, Utah State, and Baylor College are just some of the many institutions that established linkages with 38 Polish universities and institutes.

PLUS-IP provides a platform for our two countries to deepen these ties and strengthen this nexus of government, business, and academia all focused on improving our innovation ecosystems through joint ventures and joint research and development. We must support research and development. Regional innovation clusters in Poland, tied to their American counterparts, support jobs in both countries.

Collaboration – both financial and intellectual – between government, business, and academia has been important to the U.S. economy, especially since World War II. This collaboration has brought us the internet, space flight, modern wind turbines, the microchip, countless vaccines, and nuclear medicine among others. Innovation creates a multiplier effect, spurring the kind of entrepreneurship – both small and large scale - that creates jobs, and provides products and services to enhance the lives of this and future generations.

PLUS-IP brings greater focus and structure to those in our two countries already collaborating, while bringing in new partners. These partners come from our government research and business institutes, universities, research and technology institutions, industry associations, large corporations, and small and medium enterprises.

Through PLUS-IP, we will deepen our economic collaboration in key economic sectors such as defense, energy, health, and technology – all engines of innovation. Similarly, we will share expertise to identify regional innovation clusters by creating institutional links and networks among local government, the private sector, academia, and non-governmental organizations. We will also work to nurture start-ups by identifying obstacles to innovation and by sharing best practices on taxation, corporate governance, technology transfer, and policies to protect intellectual property rights.

Lastly, I would like to recognize the strong commitment the Government of Poland has made to realize this endeavor by establishing the investment funds. I know our U.S. council members look forward to working with their Polish counterparts on how to get the most positive impact from these funds.

Again, I would like to thank our U.S. and Polish PLUS-IP council members and partners for being here today and their commitment of time and resources. I know it will further strengthen our strong bond of friendship and cooperation and contribute to our continued economic prosperity. This is just the beginning and we have a lot of work before us, but I am confident we will succeed.

Thank you.