The U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (CS) is organizing a “Smart Cities” Business Development Mission to Poland and the Czech Republic from September 10 – 15. This mission is focused on business and designed to help export ready U.S. companies launch or increase their export business in promising sectors in Poland and the Czech Republic that contribute to the development of smart cities, including e-mobility, energy efficiency and management, e-governance, and environmental management and quality, including air and water quality.
Mission participants will benefit from expert briefings on the policy frameworks in Europe supporting smart cities and the particulars of smart cities developments in Poland and the Czech Republic. The mission will include opportunities to meet key Government officials and decision-makers in both countries, one-on-one meetings with potential business partners and networking events. The government and private sector in Poland and the Czech Republic are investing billions in projects conducive to the development of smart cities.
Through this mission, U.S. companies will gain an understanding of and position themselves for success in the smart cities markets in Poland and the Czech Republic.
The United States and the European Union make up half the world’s economic output and nearly one trillion dollars in global goods and services trade. One of the greatest challenges facing Europe today is how best to design and create smart – intelligent, secure and sustainable – environments. As nearly three quarters of Europeans live in cities, smarter technologies can help governments tackle the resulting urban challenges, creating unparalleled opportunities for innovative U.S. technology and service providers.
Cities continue to be magnets of opportunity. According to the United Nations, 66 percent of the world’s population (about 6.3 billion) will reside in cities by 2050. This rapid urbanization brings many challenges to urban planners and leaders, who must provide secure, efficient and effective basic services (water, energy and transportation, and connectivity) to meet the demands of urban dwellers, while also hoping to spur economic growth and provide opportunities for citizens to prosper. Building a “smarter city” is part of the answer to this challenge.
Smarter cities harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to adapt and integrate information, communication and technology solutions across urban functional areas, such as transportation, energy and safety, to help cities maximize resources and improve the quality of life of citizens.
Some of the most dynamic markets in Europe adopting “smart cities” technologies are in the “new EU.” Countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic are investing significant resources to improve urban infrastructures, including expanding broadband internet access, improving energy and transportation efficiency, constructing smart buildings and enhancing environmental protection.
Since the transition to democracy and the free market that began in 1989, Poland has become an important country within the European Union. The country’s central location in Central Europe, large population (38.2 million) and per capita Gross National Income (GNI) of $13,080 have attracted significant foreign direct investment, which have contributed to Poland’s economic growth and its position as the largest economy in Central Europe.
Since joining the European Union in 2004, the country’s ambitions have been marked by the desire to fully catch up with the core of the European Union in terms of economic development and living standards (Current Gross Domestic Product per capita currently stands at 70 percent of the European Union average) and to become an influential player within the European Union. Poland is a significant recipient of EU “cohesion funds.” From 2014 – 2020, Poland will receive over Euro 100 billion in EU cohesion funds to support the key initiatives, which are open equally to U.S. companies, outline below:
Smart Technology: By 2020 all citizens will have access to high-speed broadband of at least 30 Mbps with half of them having broadband access at a speed of at least 100 Mbps. The government intends to support the construction of municipal broadband networks to make the investments more attractive for network operators. The Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Digitization are supporting the “Intelligent Development Program” and the “Digital Poland Program” which are consistent with the ideas of smart cities and will provide individual citizens and companies with the most modern IT services.
Local governments are interested in applying smart technologies such as smart meters that will help to conserve resources and monitor environmental quality. Every third local government is interested in smart metering: 37% in remote reading of water meters and 32% in city monitoring. Polish cities register some of the highest air pollution levels in Europe, and there is need for technologies that can help monitor and improve air quality.
Smart Mobility: Poland continues to look for ways to improve its transportation infrastructure, and cities such as Bydgoszcz, Gliwice, Krakow, Szczecin, and Wroclaw are implementing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) projects. Virtually all major Polish cities have created ITS departments or units to support implementation of ITS projects. From 2013 - 2017, Poland has spent or will spend roughly $1.25 billion on ITS projects, with 40% of the budget for ITS projects allocated to purchases of components, such as cameras, electronic signs and detectors. According to industry sources, during the current EU financial budget (2014 – 2020), this figure could double, depending on the ability of municipal authorities and local governments to successfully apply for EU funding. It is estimated that implementation plans should appear in 10–15% of municipalities by 2020. According to ITS Polska, the value of related investments from 2014–2020 could reach PLN 10 billion. Subsectors that are likely to see growth opportunities in the coming years are: 1) on-demand mobility systems (car-sharing in particular), 2) ride-sharing and other solutions aimed at tackling growing traffic congestion, 3) solutions intended to integrate the services provided by different transportation companies, especially in the data collection dimension (Warsaw has a couple of companies running different bus lines).
Smart Governance: The government assumes that 64% of citizens and 95% of entrepreneurs will use the Internet as the basic tool for reaching out to public authorities in 2020; today, it is 32% and 90%, respectively. A central data repository and single point-of-contact platform is to be created to enable access to all eServices and make it easier to reach out to authorities.
Smart Buildings: Smart buildings are another important contributor to improving energy efficiency and decreasing carbon emissions. Poland is transposing the Energy Performance of Building Directive and its revision. An energy performance certificate (EPC) is now mandatory when a building or apartment transfers ownership. There is significant potential to substantially strengthen the energy efficiency of Poland’s building stock, particularly by promoting passive energy houses (PEH) and zero energy buildings (ZEB).
Smart city is a relatively well-known term in the Czech Republic. Each major city and number of municipalities in the country have already one or more smart solutions and actively work on further projects in accordance with their budget possibilities. Politicians on all levels declare support for smart city initiatives but general awareness is not as high as in large U.S. cities. The CIVINET network of Czech and Slovak cities, part of the CIVITAS Forum, is an active player in overcoming barriers between local and EU levels and effectively helps to streamline the process of drawing funds allocated by the EU for smart city development. These financial resources, combined with smart city enthusiasm and specific city projects, will create opportunity for interested companies for years to come.
Prague is a pioneer among Central European metropolises in supporting electro- mobility in cooperation with energy suppliers in its territory since 2011 and is the fourth best e-Government city after Seoul, Hong Kong and Madrid. The SMART Prague 2014 - 2020 concept addresses the city’s weaknesses by strengthening research, technological development and innovation, promoting social inclusion and combating poverty, sustainable mobility and energy savings and education and learning. The second largest city, Brno, has focused efforts on transportation mobility. Pilsen has launched a project to provide free Wi-Fi in public spaces and also provides free electric buses. A number of other Czech cities support the European Commission’s Smart Cities and Communities Stakeholders Platform.
Key initiatives in the Czech Republic include:
Smart Mobility: The government has approved an extensive upgrade of transportation systems. By 2020, about $1 billion will be spent on smart systems in air, rail, ship and road transport. Around one half of the resources will be invested in radar, cameras, automatic scales and advanced electronics for road transport. The purpose is to make traffic flow smoothly without accidents and to sanction undisciplined drivers quickly and effectively.
Smart Governance: Since 2012, basic public electronic registers have worked reliably in the country. The registers are cornerstones for further e-Government innovation capitalizing on the Czech Republic’s leading e-Government initiatives. The Government is promoting deeper information sharing among public authorities. The Digital Education program will promote cheaper or free internet for the underprivileged from 2017. Safety and emergency services and smart detection cameras are just two examples of new products/services that are being used in the country.
Smart Buildings: The capital city of Prague has put forward its own development concept called SMART PRAGUE 2014 - 2020. It involves a long-term plan that combines economic, technologically effective and sustainable development as determined by the evaluation of sophisticated and integrated data. In order to determine appropriate targets for smart infrastructure, a case study was carried out during spring 2016 that involved a sample of 20 buildings in the city. Energy sources as well as access control, video surveillance and security integration/management were identified as targets in order to convert the current buildings into smart buildings.
The goals of the Smart Cities business development mission are to provide U.S. participants with first-hand market information, and one-on-one meetings with business contacts, including potential partners, as well as local government meetings, so that they can position themselves to enter or expand their business in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Specifically, the Mission will:
The business development mission will include one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors and joint venture partners; meetings with national and regional government officials, chambers of commerce, and business groups; and networking receptions for companies and trade associations representing companies interested in expansion into Poland and the Czech Republic. Meetings will be offered with government authorities that can address questions about policies, tariff rates, incentives, regulations, projects, etc.
*Note: The final schedule and potential site visits will depend on the availability of host government and business officials, specific goals of mission participants, and ground transportation.
Trade Mission Participants Arrive in Warsaw.
Country briefing and welcome event.
Meetings with Polish Government officials and industry experts.
One-on-One business matchmaking appointments.
Networking Reception at Ambassador’s residence.
Morning Site Visit
Depart for Krakow mid – to –late morning.
Arrive Krakow between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm
Evening Reception at U.S. Consul General’s Residence
Briefings/Presentations/Meetings with key local government officials/decision makers. One-on-one matchmaking meetings
Travel to Prague.
Meetings with key Czech Government officials and industry experts.
One-on-one matchmaking meetings.
Evening VIP reception at Ambassador’s residence.
Saturday, September 16
Trade Mission Participants Depart
All parties interested in participating in the trade mission must complete and submit an application package for consideration by the DOC. All applicants will be evaluated on their ability to meet certain conditions and best satisfy the selection criteria as outlined below. A minimum of 10 and maximum of 15 firms and/or trade associations will be selected to participate in the mission from the applicant pool.
After a firm or trade association has been selected to participate on the mission, a payment to the Department of Commerce in the form of a participation fee is required. The participation fee for the Business Development Mission will be $2,454.00 for small or medium-sized enterprises (SME) 1 ; and $3,659 for large firms or trade associations. The fee for each additional firm representative (large firm or SME/trade organization) is $1,000. Expenses for travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals will be the responsibility of each mission participant. Interpreter and driver services can be arranged for additional cost. Delegation members will be able to take advantage of U.S. Embassy rates for hotel rooms.
The mission fee does not include any personal travel expenses such as lodging, most meals, local ground transportation, and air transportation from the U.S. to the mission sites, between mission sites, and return to the United States. Business visas may be required. Government fees and processing expenses to obtain such visas are also not included in the mission costs. However, the U.S. Department of Commerce will provide instructions to each participant on the procedures required to obtain necessary business visas.
Trade Mission members participate in the trade mission and undertake mission-related travel at their own risk. The nature of the security situation in a given foreign market at a given time cannot be guaranteed. The U.S. Government does not make any representations or guarantees as to the safety or security of participants. The U.S. Department of State issues U.S. Government international travel alerts and warnings for U.S. citizens available at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html. Any question regarding insurance coverage must be resolved by the participant and its insurer of choice.
An applicant must submit a completed and signed mission application and supplemental application materials, including adequate information on the company’s products and/or services, primary market objectives, and goals for participation. If the Department of Commerce receives an incomplete application, the Department may reject the application, request additional information, or take the lack of information into account when evaluating the applications.
An applicant must certify that its products and/or services are being manufactured or produced in the United States or, if manufactured/produced outside of the United States, its products and/or services are marketed under the name of a U.S. firm and have U.S. content representing at least 51 percent of the value of the finished good or service. In the case of a trade association or trade organization, the applicant must certify that, for each company to be represented by the trade association or trade organization on the mission, the products and services the represented company seeks to export are either produced in the United States or, if not, marketed under the name of a U.S. firm and have at least fifty-one percent U.S. content.
The following criteria will be evaluated in selecting participants:
Balance of company size and location may also be considered during the review process.
Referrals from political organizations and any documents containing references to partisan political activities (including political contributions) will be removed from an applicant’s submission and not considered during the selection process.
U.S. Department of Commerce
US Embassy – Warsaw, Poland
U.S. Embassy – Warsaw, Poland
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Embassy – Prague, Czech Republic
US Department of Commerce
Tel: +420-257-022-434, ext. 2436
Tel: +420-257-022-424, ext. 2315
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