The inaugural Toronto Economic Forum took place October 17-18 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel and hosted political, diplomatic, and business leaders from Canada and Greece. (Photo: Luigi Recine Photography / Delphi Economic Forum)
TORONTO – The inaugural Toronto Economic Forum took place October 17-18 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel and hosted political, diplomatic, and business leaders from Canada and Greece. At the heart of presentations and discussions were common themes such as how synergies between the two countries can be promoted, the role of the Diaspora in the growth of Greek businesses, and how Canada and Greece can work closer together on a political level.
The forum opened with remarks from former Ambassador to Greece Robert Peck, who introduced Symeon Tsomokos, President of the Delphi Economic Forum, followed by John Sotos, co-President of The Hellenic Initiative Canada. Ambassador of Greece to Canada Konstantina Athanassiadou welcomed everyone and opened the main discussions. Alternate Minister of Development and Investments Nikos Papathanasis spoke on Greece’s economic performance over the past few years and its promising trajectory for the future.
Keynote speaker Prem Watsa, founder, chairman, and CEO of the Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings, has been called the ‘Canadian Warren Buffett’. He highlighted the strengths and potential of Greece and, in full support of the current government, stated that if Prime Minister Mitsotakis is re-elected, Greece would be well on its way to becoming one of the leaders in the global financial markets.
The forum hosted a series of thought-provoking discussions on how to leverage advantages and strengths from both countries to benefit and grow mutually beneficial business and economic relationships, taking into account, however, the differences in practices, frameworks, and, oftentimes, mentality and perception.
Canadian parliamentarians and business leaders attended the panels including: Effie J. Triantafilopoulos, MPP & Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation & Trade; MP Annie Koutrakis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport; Vasileios Tsianos, President of the Hellenic Canadian Board of Trade; Mark Nasr, Senior VP, Products, Marketing and eCommerce, Air Canada; George Soleas, President and CEO, Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO); Alexander Georgiadis, President, Krinos Foods Canada Ltd.; Andreas Souvaliotis, Founder of Carrot Rewards, Canada; and Tony Lourakis, CEO Fleet Complete, among many others.
Special keynote speaker, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry of Canada François-Philippe Champagne commented, “now is a very dynamic time to develop bilateral relationships between Greece and Canada. With the conditions in place in Europe, we have to look to countries that offer security, trust and that share the same values as us. I believe in this context, Canada and Greece can achieve a lot by working together.”
Alternate Minister of Development and Investments Papathanassis referred to the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and commented that there are still some pending matters and that once resolved, Greece can proceed to ratify the agreement.
Among the speakers who came from Greece to participate in the forum were Ioannis Smyrlis, Secretary General for International Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hellenic Republic; Gregory Dimitriadis, CEO & Executive Board Member of Growth Fund; Orestis Kavalakis, Secretary General of Private Investments & PPPs, Ministry of Development & Investments; Olympia Anastasopoulou, Secretary General for Tourism Policy & Development, Ministry of Tourism; and Alexandra Sdoukou, Secretary General for Energy & Mineral Resources, Hellenic Republic.
The Toronto Economic Forum is organized by the Delphi Economic Forum in partnership with The Hellenic Initiative Canada, and in association with the Canada-Greece Chamber of Commerce and the Hellenic-Canadian Board of Trade.
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