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Czech Auto Experts and Managers Visit South Carolina and Georgia

The Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, DC, and CzechInvest led a trade mission from the Czech automotive industry to the United States on October 17-20, 2016.

The purpose of the visit was to gather information about the US automotive industry with emphasis on comparing the levels and types of education and training of all automotive professions and their actual application on the job as well as to make business and academic contacts and find opportunities for Czech automotive exporters. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, as part of its economic diplomacy, supported the visit financially.

In South Carolina, the trade mission visited the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), an advanced-technology research, innovation and educational campus advancing the development of the automotive sector. Czech university representatives were interested in Clemson’s student project Deep Orange, which is in its eight year. The initiative gives the students the opportunity to work with a chosen car manufacturer to create a prototype vehicle within the two year program.

The delegation further held meetings with companies in Charleston, Atlanta, and Gainesville, focusing on foreign firms’ conditions for success on the American market and understanding the differences between the European and American automotive industries. The program also allowed for time to meet with one Czech automotive company which has established itself on American soil.  ALBAform Inc., owned by its Czech parent company ALBA-METAL, has been designing, developing and manufacturing precision metal components, with focus on the automotive industry, in Georgia since 2011. The family run branch, which has been growing along with its volume of customers’ orders, shared its experiences with the delegation.

Ambassador of the Czech Republic Petr Gandalovic noted that, “Honorary Consuls many times have local contacts, which are hard to obtain from Washington. That is why I very much appreciated the assistance and organizational support of Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic for North and South Carolina Petr Vasicko and Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic for Georgia George Novak.”

The Head of the Economic Section at the Czech Embassy, Tomas Hart, stated, “We took the first step and made new contacts. Now, it’s time to evaluate and determine the next steps. From Albaform’s example, it is evident that our small and middle sized companies are able to take on the American market.”