The United States government on Tuesday organized an intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement workshop for some 50 Cambodian and Lao law enforcement officials. U.S. representatives from the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and Patent and Trademark Office would discuss best practices, share investigative techniques, and conduct real-world simulations during the three-day workshop, said a statement of the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia. "Protecting intellectual property rights has become one of the toughest challenges of the 21st century,"U.S. Embassy deputy chief of mission Jeff Daigle said at the opening ceremony." However, countries that protect IPR enjoy stronger economies, have stronger and more accessible to cultural traditions and faster real innovation." He said it was estimated that fake medicines killed 700,000 people every year around the world, so this was an important safety reason to protect IPR. Cambodian Minister of Commerce Sun Chanthol said the Cambodian government is committed to enforcing laws related to IPR so as to ensure fair competition and to increase investors'confidence. "As you are aware, all of us are facing a common threat from the international trafficking of counterfeit and pirated goods which produce negative effects throughout our economies,"he said at the opening of the workshop. "These include threats to the health and safety of consumers, the discouragement of investment and the activities of organized crime that are of concern to all of us."