This week, we were delighted to host Her Excellency Zuzana Čaputová, President of the Slovak Republic and a delegation of Slovak businesses to deepen the international trade relationships between Slovakia and the Toronto region.
There are many parallels between the Toronto Region and Slovak economies. We share strengths in the automotive industry, nuclear energy, AI, energy storage, clean technology, and biotech sectors. These similarities present fertile opportunities for trade, but an asymmetry points to a specific opportunity for Canadian – and Toronto region-based companies.
Despite the impressive volume of merchandise imported from Slovakia to Canada, which neared $1 billion in 2022, Canadian exports to Slovakia accounted for a modest $50.8 million. This disparity underscores the potential for Toronto's businesses to deepen their engagement with the Slovak economy.
At the event, Jon Worren, responsible for the board's scale-up arm, the World Trade Centre – Toronto, highlighted that we are uniquely positioned to help Canadian entrepreneurs take advantage of this opportunity.
The existing trade relationship, and several other factors, highlight why Slovakia could represent an excellent opportunity for the right Canadian entrepreneurs:
1. Positive sentiment toward Canadian businesses
The existing trade relationships and successful Slovak companies selling to the Canadian market have fostered a positive sentiment towards Canadian businesses in Slovakia. This mutual respect and interest lay a favorable groundwork for Canadian entrepreneurs to introduce their businesses, negotiate partnerships, and establish a presence in the Slovak market with a welcoming and receptive audience.
2. There is already a precedent for Canadian success in Slovakia
Magna International, the Canadian-based automotive parts giant, is deeply embedded in Slovakia, with five different business units already operating there.
3. Strong economic ties through free trade
The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has laid a solid foundation for trade relations between Canada and EU member states, including Slovakia. This agreement significantly reduces trade barriers, making it easier for Canadian entrepreneurs to access the Slovak market.
4. Slovakia is a strategic gateway to the European market
Slovakia's strategic location in Central Europe makes it an ideal gateway for Canadian businesses aiming to penetrate the broader European market, while its relatively small population provides an opportunity to begin European operations at a manageable scale.
5. Slovakia's innovative and skilled workforce
Like Canada, Slovakia boasts a highly educated and skilled workforce, particularly in the engineering, tech, and manufacturing sectors. Canadian entrepreneurs can leverage this talent pool for collaborative projects, research and development activities.
6. Slovakia has electricity capacity
Slovakia has an increasingly-green electricity grid, having a goal of replacing all fossil fuel generation with nuclear. Most importantly, the addition of significant new nuclear generation capacity has put Slovakia in the position of being the only central European country that’s a net energy exporter – a critical factor in favour of many investment decisions.
About the World Trade Centre Toronto
The World Trade Centre Toronto (WTC-T) is the trade services and scale-up arm of the Board. Its goal is to deliver best-in-class programs to help businesses build strategies and enhance their trade and growth plans. Is international expansion – to Slovakia or any other market – an opportunity your company wants to pursue? In that case, the WTC-T's Trade Accelerator Program may be an excellent fit to help you maximize that opportunity. Register here to join a free program information session.