Corrections & updates: A previous version of this article listed the wrong name for P&S International Strategies and incorrectly cited its involvement in the Hungarian agricultural delegation. Dates for the trip have also been updated to Sept. 23-30. A new flyer is posted at the bottom of the article. See registration details at www.cnaccc.org/trademission.
Two of Atlanta’s business-oriented honorary consuls are teaming up to lead a group of local companies on a September trade mission to Central Europe, aiming to capitalize on what they see as growing bilateral investment interest.
Diplomats representing Hungary and Czech Republic in Georgia are taking the group on a weeklong trip Sept. 23-30 to the countries, hoping to unlock opportunities in both directions.
John Parkerson, honorary consul of Hungary, and an attorney at the Atlanta law firm of Hall Booth Smith P.C., is helping organize trip through P&S International Strategies LLC, a consulting firm in which he is a partner along with Atlanta-based Hungarian-American businesswoman Melinda Setenyi.
They will team up with Monika Vintrlikova, the honorary consul of the Czech Republic, who in her day job serves as owner and CEO of Albaform, which makes metal seat frames for some of the world’s largest auto makers at its Flowery Branch factory. Ms. Vintrlikova came about a decade ago to Georgia to establish the U.S. arm of her family’s business in the Czech Republic.
“The time is ripe for thIs trade mission to the Czech Republic and Hungary,” Mr. Parkerson told Global Atlanta. “Interest in inbound and outbound trade between our Southeast U.S. region and Central Europe is at an all-time high.”
Among the evidence he cited was a June delegation and business forum hosted at the Metro Atlanta Chamber by Ms. Vintrlikova and the newly founded Czech-North American Business Chamber. Miloslav Stasek, ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States, has become a regular in Georgia, visiting at least three times already in 2023. Along with Albaform, Czech companies like PBS Aerospace Inc., Silon and Atlanta Cylinders have outposts in the state.
“We are seeing similar enthusiasm from Hungarian companies about our region,” Mr. Parkerson said, citing interest from medical technology and IT companies.
“To cite just one example among several, Budapest-based Kinepict X-Safe, Inc., which developed image enhancing angiography software, established its U.S. base in Atlanta a little over one year ago and already is attracting widespread attention from radiologists and hospitals, including well-known hospital systems in metro Atlanta.”
Each of the Czech Republic and Hungary have about 10 million people, making them similar to Georgia in population size. While that makes them relatively small players in the broader European Union, their economies occupy key niches in sectors like manufacturing, medtech and agriculture that make them complementary to the state.
Both countries see in Georgia a government that’s hospitable to business and eager to help firms break into the vast United States market with an established foothold in one of its most dynamic regions.
A Hungarian agricultural delegation is set to visit Georgia in October to participate in the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie. They are coming under the auspices of the agriculture attaché at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture and Mr. Parkerson in his role as honorary consul.
Mr. Parkerson encouraged companies in the Southeast U.S. to join the September mission to build relationships that could help them boost sales or establish a European presence.
“Outbound, many southeast companies are finding the Czech Republic and Hungary to be attractive business environments due to their stability, favorable tax regimes, highly skilled workforces, business incentives and integration into the mainstream European economy and logistics network,” Mr. Parkerson said. “The trade mission will provide participants from our Southeast region opportunities to see those attributes first-hand and to form connections with Czech and Hungarian businesses and economic development interests.”
While the delegation is open to companies from all sectors, industries like IT, health sciences, manufacturing and agriculture are among the core industries being sought.
The itinerary is to feature one-on-one business meetings, industry site visits, networking with government officials and economic development agencies and cultural experiences and sightseeing.
The trip is capped at 15 participants. To see an updated flyer and register, go here or email the organizers:
- Melinda Setenyi: firstname.lastname@example.org
- John Parkerson: email@example.com
- Monika Vintrlikova: firstname.lastname@example.org