Remarks by Ambassador Litzenberger For the BakuTel Reception

Ladies and Gentlemen: good evening, and welcome.

I’m so glad to have you all here tonight to recognize our second annual U.S. Pavilion at BakuTel.  Earlier today, I toured the U.S. Pavilion at the BakuTel Expo and had the pleasure to meet the representatives of our participating American companies.  I’m glad to see many of you here tonight as well.

Tonight, we have with us a distinguished visitor from Syracuse University, visiting Fulbright scholar, Dr. Shubha Ghosh.  Dr. Ghosh is a leading expert on the development of intellectual property and technology as a means of promoting economic and social development.  I hope you all get the chance to speak with him before the evening is over.

This year, four American companies joined our U.S. Pavilion, and several other participated with exhibitions of their own.  In reflecting on our efforts at the U.S. Embassy over the past year, one theme remains constant.  That theme is economic partnership.  Whether to help improve Azerbaijan’s business climate, provide development assistance, or increase connections between our two countries, the U.S. Embassy could not have accomplished our work without our private and public sector partners here in Azerbaijan.

U.S. companies, including tech companies such as Microsoft, Alphabet, and Apple, are looking to find a home for hundreds of billions of dollars that could be invested here.  Steps to improve intellectual property rights protection and strengthen the rule of law go a long way toward making the case Azerbaijan should attract a share of this investment.  We all have a role to play to achieve these objectives.

A particular thanks to the American Chamber of Commerce, which this past May took a pledge committing all of its members to respecting intellectual property rights.  We look forward to working with AmCham to take this pledge a step further to ensure businesses comply with this commitment.

American companies – through their presence and their advocacy – have played an important role in improving Azerbaijan’s business climate.  I would like to recognize in particular the four companies who participated in our U.S. Pavilion at BakuTel: Avigilon, Avirtel, Oracle, and Seabak.

From video security to internet and TV services, these four companies offer an array of information and telecommunications products and services that we’d like to see more of here in Azerbaijan.

In Azerbaijan’s expanding technology sector, it is important that business and ministries partner with companies they can trust, companies that respect rule of law principles and the delineation between the public and private sector.

American technology companies do this, all while providing top-notch products with top-notch customer service.  And, unlike companies from countries like China, our laws and courts effectively protect the rights of companies and their users.  By partnering with and buying from American companies, you can be sure that your products will be reliable, secure, and free from back doors into your systems.

Looking forward to the next year, I hope that we are all able to work together to promote transparency, rule-of-law, and intellectual property rights to help Azerbaijan on its path to becoming a prosperous digital and economic hub.

We’ve done a lot of great work this year together as partners, and I look forward to all we will accomplish together in the year to come.

Thank you all, and enjoy the evening.