Taiwan hopeful of Canadian foreign investment protection agreement

A container ship is seen in this undated file photo amid reports that Canada is considering signing a bilateral foreign investment protection pact. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed welcome and gratitude Tuesday after Canada said last week that it is considering signing a bilateral foreign investment protection pact.

“We will continue to engage in talks with Canada to create a better investment environment and a win-win situation for companies from both countries,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement came after Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland last week said her country is mulling such a pact, the first time the Canadian government had openly expressed interest in signing such deal with Taiwan.

Answering questions raised by a Canadian member of parliament, Mark Langley, on the issue Dec. 7, Chrystia said Canada is committed to continuing to strengthen trade and investment relations in the Asia-Pacific region, including Taiwan.

“With regard to a possible foreign investment protection agreement or arrangement (FIPA) with Taiwan, Canada is giving consideration to the matter,” she noted.

Meanwhile, an anonymous source told CNA Tuesday that the Ministry of Economic Affairs is expected to bring up the FIPA issue as Taiwan and Canada are scheduled to hold a new round of annual trade talks in Taipei Thursday.

Canada is Taiwan’s 23rd-largest trade partner and 18th-largest export market, while Taiwan was Canada’s 12th-largest trade partner in 2017, according to Taiwan government figures.

Meanwhile, commenting on Beijing’s pressure in demanding that Canadian private companies, including Air Canada and the Royal Bank of Canada, must label Taiwan as part of China, Chrystia reiterated Canada’s opposition to “any actions taken to alter the status quo or raise tensions across the Taiwan Strait.” “Global Affairs Canada has made clear to Chinese officials that Canadian companies should be able to operate their websites without political interference. Canadian officials have also met with Taiwanese authorities to inform them that there has been no change in Canada’s longstanding “one China” policy,” she noted.

Chrystia said her government supports Taiwan’s democracy and continues to have strong and growing trade and people-to-people ties with Taiwan within the framework of its “one China” policy.

By Joseph Yeh