In a significant move towards enhancing economic collaboration, Taiwan and Canada formally sealed a bilateral investment deal on Friday. This accord not only reinforces the Taiwanese government's commitment to fostering business partnerships with like-minded democratic allies but also paves the way for potential inclusion in a major pan-Pacific trade pact.
Taiwan, seeking increased diplomatic and moral support from major Western democracies, including Canada, is grappling with mounting military and political pressure from China. Beijing has persistently asserted sovereignty claims over the self-ruled island. To counter these challenges, Taiwan has been actively pursuing trade agreements with Western nations.
The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Arrangement, a culmination of talks completed in October, is integral to Canada's strategy to bolster trade and influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Described by Taiwan's Office of Trade Negotiations as a milestone of "great historical significance," the agreement is expected to fortify supply chain links and resilience, underscoring Taiwan's global importance.
Taiwan's de facto ambassador to Canada, Harry Tseng, emphasized the agreement's potential impact on strengthening the global supply chain during the signing ceremony. Canada's representation was led by Jim Nickel, its top diplomat in Taiwan.
The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei hailed the agreement as a "great day" for both nations, expressing optimism about injecting predictability into business dealings and fostering mutual economic prosperity. The agreement, formally known as the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Arrangement, is anticipated to facilitate smoother trade relations between Canada and Taiwan.
Taiwan's aspirations extend beyond the bilateral scope, with hopes that this agreement will bolster its bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). As Canada assumes the rotating chair of the CPTPP next year, Taiwan sees an opportunity to garner support from member nations.
Highlighting the agreement's commitment to high standards, particularly in areas such as environmental protection and governance goals, Taiwan aims to showcase its adherence to stringent trade norms within the CPTPP framework. The island nation has been actively lobbying CPTPP members, including Canada, emphasizing its commitment to transparency and the rule of law in economic practices.
Despite China's application to join the CPTPP, Taiwan remains resolute in seeking recognition within the trade pact. The strained relations between China and Canada further amplify the significance of Taiwan's growing alliances with democratic nations, as it vehemently rejects China's sovereignty claims.
While formal diplomatic ties remain absent, the collaboration between Canada and Taiwan continues to flourish, with both nations maintaining de facto embassies in each other's capitals. This latest development marks a positive stride towards reinforcing economic ties in a region crucial to global trade dynamics.