APEC Dialogue on Corruption and Illicit Trade: Combating Counterfeit Medicines and Strengthening Supply Chain Integrity

David M. Luna
Director for Anticrime Programs, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Washington, DC
March 2, 2011

Good Morning.

For those for whom this Dialogue is their first APEC meeting this year, welcome to APEC 2011 and to Washington, DC.

My name is David Luna and I am the 2011 APEC Anticorruption and Transparency (ACT) Task Force Chair.

It is an honor to co-host this important Dialogue with our APEC colleagues and international partners, including the APEC Intellectual Property Experts Group (IPEG), the Life Science Innovative Forum (LSIF), the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and other APEC sub-fora.

I would also like to thank and recognize the U.S. APEC Senior Official and U.S. APEC 2011 SOM Chair Representative, Kurt Tong, and Chairs of IPEG, LSIF, ABAC, who have been working with us in support of this event. Mr. Tong will shortly outline the U.S. APEC priorities for 2011.

We are equally honored to have the presence this morning of Victoria Espinel, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Executive Office of the President, the White House, and Director John Morton, U.S. Immigration and Customs, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will also be providing remarks at the closing session.

Today’s APEC Dialogue on Corruption and Illicit Trade: Combating Counterfeit Medicines and Strengthening Supply Chain Integrity is a continuation of the work in various APEC sub-fora over the years to build a common agenda on combating corruption, illicit trade, counterfeits –including counterfeit medicines – and other cross-border illicit threats that impact our economies, especially in areas where they threaten human health and safety.

In their recommendations to the Economic Leaders in 2009, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) urged APEC to take action to tackle illicit trade, a problem that may account for 15-20% of global trade.

Corruption and illicit trade are not only barriers to economic growth, trade and investment, and market integrity, but also weaken the entrepreneurial spirit that nurtures innovation, openness, and competiveness. Moreover, whether it be counterfeit medicines or other dangerous counterfeits, defective products, or tainted goods, illicit trade imperils human security and erodes public confidence across our economies.

No economy alone can solve this complex challenge; it will require creative partnerships and joint responsibility. We must stand together and strengthen our work in APEC to crackdown on the illicit networks that are exploiting and flooding our markets with counterfeit (and sometimes deadly) goods, and combat related corruption and those who corrupt our institutions.

In November 2010, in Yokohama, Japan, APEC Leaders and Ministers agreed to leverage collective action to combat corruption and illicit trade by promoting clean government, fostering market integrity, and strengthening relevant judicial, regulatory, and law enforcement systems.

Advancing this important call, we hope to build on through this Dialogue the discussion from the September 2010 APEC ACT-ABAC Roundtable in Sendai, Japan, on combating corruption and illicit trade, and to bring together expertise from numerous APEC sub-fora and the private sector to help stem the devastating human and economic costs of harmful counterfeit medicines to APEC communities by developing best practices, coordinating efforts, and strengthening cooperation among all market actors to ensure greater supply chain integrity and public safety.

A true public-private partnership requires action and commitment on the part of both public and private sectors to create a community of vigilance against corruption and to ensure criminal networks do not export harmful illicit goods across our borders.

We also must enhance our efforts across APEC economies to bridge effective partnerships and synergies to build further attention to the costs that counterfeit medicines have on our communities and impact on the health and safety of our people.

Our keynote speakers and presenters at this Dialogue will help to put these challenges in greater context and outline ideas and possible public-private partnerships and innovative approaches so that APEC, working together with the international community, can strengthen cooperation and capacities to address these important illicit threats, disrupt illicit markets, dismantle the networks trafficking in these dangerous products, and deprive criminals and corrupt officials of their profits by denying them safe haven and tracking their financial illicit flows – thereby restoring public trust and integrity to our supply chains and financial markets.

Finally, let me also thank the U.S. inter-agency planning committee working on today’s APEC Dialogue for helping to organize the program for this event including the White House, the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, Justice, and State, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).