Canada and Taiwan have completed talks on a bilateral deal to boost foreign investment and will work to make sure it takes effect promptly, Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng and Taiwan’s government said on Tuesday.
Taiwan has been seeking greater diplomatic and moral support from major Western democracies, such as Canada, as it faces growing military and political pressure from China to give in to Beijing’s sovereignty claims over the island. As part of that, Taiwan has been seeking more trade deals with Western countries.
The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Arrangement is part of Canada’s plan to increase trade and influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Trade between Canada and Taiwan totaled $10.2-billion in 2021, up from $7.4-billion in 2020, according to official Canadian figures. Canada’s total bilateral trade with the world is more than $1.5-trillion.
Taiwan’s government welcomed the news. Its Office of Trade Negotiations said the deal will be signed once “administrative procedures” are completed, including legal reviews of the text.
“Of course we aim to sign as soon as possible, hopefully before the end of the year,” Taiwan’s chief trade negotiator, John Deng, told reporters in Taipei.
He said the agreement would help with Taipei’s bid to join a major pan-Pacific free trade pact, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP.
Canada holds the rotating chair of the CPTPP next year, a grouping China has also applied to join.
Taiwan has been lobbying members such as Canada to back its application, saying that unlike Beijing, Taipei supports transparency and rule of law in its own economy and in doing business with other countries.
China, which views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, has sour relations with Canada. Taiwan strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.
Canada, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but the two maintain de facto embassies in each other’s capitals.
The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.