On the afternoon of January 9, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Mr. Robert Nault, Chair of Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. The president briefed her visitors about Taiwan-Canada cooperation and exchanges in economics, trade, culture, and tourism. She also expressed hope that Canada would support Taiwan's inclusion in the negotiations for Round 2 of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) so that Taiwan and Canada can work together for regional development and prosperity.
The president began by offering a warm welcome to the visiting delegation on behalf of the people and government of Taiwan. In remarks, she stated that Taiwan and Canada have much in common, share values like democracy and freedom, and have multicultural societies that they treasure. Both governments, for example, set important milestones in achieving reconciliation with indigenous peoples over the past year or two.
President Tsai said that Taiwan and Canada are both working to balance economic development and environmental sustainability. Last year, Taiwan issued its first Voluntary National Review, showing the international community our determination to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We are also devoted to promoting the development of renewable energy as we prepare to transform our energy industry, she said.
The president told her guests that based on these common values and pursuits, Taiwan and Canada have forged close connections in economics and trade, investments, and cultural exchanges. Last June, Air Canada reinstated daily direct flights between Vancouver and Taipei, and Taiwan's Eva Airways also added more direct flights between Taipei and Toronto. These positive developments have increased tourist travel and commercial contacts for both sides.
Turning to Taiwan-Canada economic and trade ties, President Tsai stated that Taiwan is Canada's 11th largest trade partner, with annual bilateral trade reaching US$5 billion. She then expressed hope that the two countries will open discussions on a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) as soon as possible. The president also hopes that Canada, as the second largest economic entity in the CPTPP, will support Taiwan's inclusion in negotiations for Round 2, and the two countries will work together for regional prosperity.
President Tsai also took this opportunity to thank the Canadian government for declaring its support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) last year. Although in the end, she noted, we were still unable to attend the WHA, Taiwan will continue to contribute its professional expertise and development experiences to international society.
In closing, the president expressed hope that the trans-Pacific friendship and connections between Taiwan and Canada will continue to flourish and grow closer.
Visiting guests included Member of Parliament Ed Fast, Senator Stephen Greene, and Canadian Trade Office in Taipei Executive Director Mario Ste-Marie.