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President Tsai meets Canadian delegation led by Member of Parliament Judy Sgro
President Tsai meets Canadian delegation led by Member of Parliament Judy Sgro

On the morning of October 11, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a Canadian delegation led by Member of Parliament Judy Sgro, Chair of the Taiwan-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group and Chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade. In remarks, President Tsai said that Taiwan and Canada are key global trading partners, and expressed hope to further expand economic cooperation to generate greater prosperity. The president also expressed gratitude to Canada for supporting Taiwan and recognizing its importance, and said she looks forward to seeing Taiwan and Canada continue to deepen exchanges in all areas and bolster our cooperation to safeguard peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

I am delighted to see Members of Parliament Judy Sgro and Angelo Iacono once again. I also extend a very warm welcome to Members of Parliament Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay, Richard Martel, and Chris Lewis.

In her capacity as Chair of the Taiwan-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group and Chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade, Mrs. Sgro has led this delegation to attend our National Day celebrations. This is a gesture of great significance to our bilateral exchanges. You are the first parliamentary delegation from Canada to visit Taiwan since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. I extend a heartfelt welcome and thank you all for making the long journey to join us. Two days from now, on October 13, Taiwan will loosen its border restrictions, which I believe will facilitate the resumption of international exchanges.

Taiwan and Canada are key global trading partners. Canada's bilateral trade with Taiwan is growing faster than its trade with any other Asian nation. Last year, our two-way trade increased more than at any time since 1995.

At the beginning of 2022, Taiwan and Canada jointly announced the launch of exploratory talks on a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA). Signing such an agreement would create a more open, transparent, and friendly investment environment, as well as strengthen bilateral economic and trade links. We earnestly look forward to positive developments on this issue.

Last year, Taiwan formally submitted its application for membership to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Our economies are highly complementary, and we hope that Canada can support Taiwan's accession to the CPTPP. Together, we can enhance economic and trade cooperation to generate greater prosperity.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Canada for supporting Taiwan and recognizing its importance. In August, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of National Defence, and Minister of International Trade expressed deep concern over China's military exercises. Soon thereafter, in September, a Canadian naval vessel conducted freedom of navigation operations in the Taiwan Strait – an action that served to uphold regional peace and stability.

The Canadian government has also spoken up for Taiwan in the global arena and backed Taiwan's international participation. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I express our sincerest appreciation for this support.

I wish you all a pleasant visit. We look forward to seeing Taiwan and Canada continue to deepen exchanges across the board and work together to safeguard peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Member of Parliament Judy Sgro then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:

Thank you very much, Your Excellency. It's wonderful to see you again. And I have to compliment you on the wonderful ceremony for your 111th National Day. The performances were beautiful to see. And the fact that "I love Taiwan" and "Taiwanese" is words [sic] I heard a lot, [shows] a people being proud to be Taiwanese. And I can say that I think in watching them, watching your constituents and seeing the pride that they have in what their government and your ministers and your deputies have achieved, I think has been remarkable.

In your wonderful speech yesterday, which I am taking to Canada and I will share with our ministers as well for them to read it directly, you talked of several priorities, [in] which we have shared interest. Taiwan is an important stakeholder for Canada. It is a two-way street. Not a one-way street. And a valuable partner for the world. A beacon of stability, strong economy, that you also mapped out so very well yesterday, and the fact that you are not afraid to stand up for others.

Taiwan's response to COVID, I believe really accelerated the knowledge and the understanding of what Taiwan has accomplished. Not only what it has already accomplished, but the potential for tomorrow. That is unending, for everyone. And your message around the world of peace and stability is a critical message.

Taiwan's response to Russia's full-scale invasion to Ukraine, with millions of dollars of donations, and over 100 tons of humanitarian aid was sent to the Ukraine, and on behalf of all of the Ukrainians in the world and in Canada, thank you so very, very much. I indicated earlier that one of my assistants fled Ukraine in the spring and came to Canada and we stay very connected to the issue. And we thank you so very much for standing strong. And again, being a beacon of hope to so many.

Taiwan, in my opinion, has demonstrated a very solid record on complying with the CPTPP. And we hope as a parliamentary friendship group, and I believe most of the parliamentarians in Canada hope, that that accession to the CPTPP will happen sooner than later. On the issue of the FIPA, of course I know, we all know because we hear about it a lot, we know how important that is, and I was very pleased that Minister [Mary] Ng met with Minister John [C. C.] Deng (鄧振中) as well on the exploratory talks. And my understanding is that things have continued to progress very well. So it would be a wonderful opportunity for Canada and Taiwan businesses to have that kind of an investment opportunity there for both of our countries to move forward and to build. Canada-Taiwan relationships is a very important thing and I think it's important for the world to see.

When we look at the amount of unrest whether it's the issue with Ukraine, we look at Iran, we look at the people demanding access to human rights and so on. And all they have to do is look at Taiwan as an example of what you have created and what you have done.

I am confident as we move forward, we will have more opportunities as we work on the Indo-Pacific strategy that we want to see happen. This is a very important part of the world, but it's also critical to have peace and stability. And Taiwan demonstrates all of that.

So I'm very happy to be here with the delegations. It's wonderful to see Dr. [David T.] Lee (李大維) again. And you have sent wonderful representatives to Canada. Mr. Chen [Wen-yi] (陳文儀) was with us and now we have Dr. Harry [Ho-jen] Tseng (曾厚仁) with us. And we do a lot of work together and they do a wonderful job. So thank you so very much for this opportunity today. And I look forward to the conversation now.

The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Canadian Trade Office in Taipei Deputy Director Gregoire Legault.

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