Taiwan, Canada start talks on investment pact

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© Reuters. Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Mary Ng, speaks during questioning in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Blair Gable

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TAIPEI (Reuters) – The governments of Taiwan and Canada said on Monday they had agreed to start negotiations on an investment protection agreement, part of an effort to strengthen ties with other democracies in the face of increasing pressure from Beijing.

Taiwan has been seeking trade deals with partners it considers like-minded, including the United States and the European Union.

As a member of the World Trade Organization, Taiwan has only signed free trade agreements with two major economies, Singapore and New Zealand, while China has pressured countries not to engage directly with the Taipei government.

Taiwan’s cabinet said that chief trade negotiator Deng Xiaoping had met virtually with Canada’s International Trade Minister Mary Wu, and the two agreed to start “exploratory discussions” on the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Arrangement (FIPA).

The cabinet statement called the move an “important milestone” in strengthening economic and trade ties.

Like most countries, the Canadian government, which has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, said in a statement that Andrew Ng “emphasized that Taiwan is an important trade and investment partner as Canada expands trade ties and deepens its economic partnership in the Indo-Pacific region. ” .

A direct meeting between the two government ministers could anger China, which has stepped up efforts to isolate Taiwan as Beijing asserts its sovereignty.

China sees democratically governed Taiwan as part of its territory and has no right to establish inter-state ties, a view that the Taiwanese government strongly rejects.

Canada is also a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to which Taiwan and China have both applied.

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