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In Toronto, Minister Zaorálek concentrated on developing trade relations with Ontario

At the conclusion of his week-long trip to Canada Mr. Zaorálek visited Toronto, the capital of Ontario, the fourth largest city in North America and business centre of Canada. Apart from a business seminar, the minister held talks with the Ontario Minister of International Trade and Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. He concluded his schedule with meetings with members of the local Czech community, which is the second largest after the United States.

At the start of his itinerary in Toronto on March 25, Minister Zaorálek addressed a business seminar which took place at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre with participation by Czech and Ontario businesses as well as representatives of the Ontario government. In his speech, the minister primarily concentrated on the prospects of developing mutual trade relations pointing out that our trade relations lag behind our very good mutual political relations. He underlined that his visit is one of the initial steps that should lead to a revival of the interest of Czech businesses in Ontario and vice versa. He also stressed that he is interested in supporting cooperation especially on the provincial level, which undoubtedly offers great potential for further development especially in sectors such as information technology, the aerospace industry, life sciences and others.

Ministr Zaorálek zahajuje podnikatelské fórum v Torontu

Ministr Zaorálek zahajuje podnikatelské fórum v Torontu

The business seminar was followed by a meeting between Minister Zaorálek and Ontario Minister of International Trade, Michael Chan. During the course of the meeting Minister Zaorálek expressed a great interest in a tighter and better structured economic and trade cooperation with the province of Ontario. He further emphasized that the Czech Republic is very aware of the significance of closer and direct cooperation with Canadian provinces, especially Ontario, whose economy makes up 40% of Canadian GDP.

The next meeting was with Ontario Minister of Research, Innovation and Science Mr. Reza Moridi in which issues of state funding to support science, research and innovation and its importance for the development of various economic sectors as well as the creation of jobs were covered. Minister Zaorálek learned about how Ontario structures its expenditures to encourage innovation and new technologies in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor that is considered to be a Canadian equivalent of Silicon Valley. Minister Moridi acknowledged the high level of applied research and innovation in the Czech Republic and expressed a formal interest in formal cooperation between his ministry and the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. The Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto had already begun to negotiate the form, content and extent of the cooperation in preparation for Minister Zaorálek‘s visit- who then formally confirmed the interest on the Czech side.


At the conclusion of his visit to Toronto, Minister Zaorálek visited Masaryk Memorial Institute where he first paid his tribute to the victims of Communism at the local Memorial After that he met with a large audience of representatives of the local Czech community to which he outlined his priorities in Czech-Canada relations and answered many questions that were raised by the members.


The entire of Minister Zaorálek’s visit to Toronto is one of the first measures the Czech diplomacy is taking to contribute to the revitalization of mutual relations with Ontario and Canada. Without any doubt, there is room for further development and the ministerial visit is a significant milestone on this journey.  Czech businesses that were part of the mission gained a better idea about their potential opportunities and prospects on the Canadian market which should also be bolstered by CETA (the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement).


David Müller, Head of Economic and Trade Section, Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto