On January 10, Taiwan and Canada agreed to begin discussions on the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), as a way for Taiwan to strengthen its affiliation to other democracies. According to Taiwan News, the agreement is intended to “ensure fair treatment of investors, transparent dispute-settling mechanisms,” and increase “representation of female and indigenous members in boardrooms and arbitration systems.” Both Canada and Taiwan strongly believe they would benefit from this relationship and are focusing on creating new initiatives for collaborations that implement technology and education. However, there are concerns that China will not approve of the two governments participating in these talks, due to China considering Taiwan as part of their territory.
John Deng, Taiwan’s Chief Trade Negotiator, and Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of International Trade announced the FIPA discussions at a January 10th video conference. In the video conference, both parties emphasized the desire for strengthening bilateral trade relations, supply chain resilience, and multilateral trade issues. On the conference call, Ng emphasized the importance of Canada’s economic relationship with Taiwan and stated “Taiwan is a key trade and investment partner as Canada broadens its trade links and deepens its economic partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Taiwan’s cabinet statement also reinforced the importance of the exploratory talks, stating that the discussions on FIPA are an “important milestone” for building Taiwan’s economic and trade relations internationally. Douglas Hsu, the Taiwanese ministry’s North American affairs director voiced his support for the conference, stating “The ministry greatly welcomes … such discussions as it represents Taiwan and Canada moving a step forward in deepening their economic, trade, and investment partnership.”
Despite the overwhelming support and approval from Taiwanese and Canadian officials, it is expected that China will be demonstrating strong disapproval of Taiwan’s actions. As reported by Reuters, China views Taiwan as an extension of its own territory with no right to state-to-state ties. Most countries do not have any formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan due to Beijing’s claim over it and previous threatening tactics that dissuade other countries from seeking a diplomatic relationship with them.
The South China Morning Post reports of China’s increasing hostility towards Taiwan. They note that ever since President Tsai Ing-wen from the Democratic Progressive Party was elected, Chinese authorities have suspended official exchanges with Taiwan, due to her refusal of accepting the one-China principle, which required Taiwan to recognize that China is the one and only sovereign state. This hostility has led China to intimidate Taiwan’s allies in hopes that Tsai will accept the principle. In the past month, Nicaragua has stopped recognizing Taiwan as an ally and has addressed their allegiance to China.
These concerns make the official declaration of talks between Taiwan and Canada all the more dangerous. However, Taiwan’s initiative to build diplomatic relations with other nations is the correct step for strengthening the resiliency of the supply chain and promoting cooperation for emerging technological, social, and educational concerns in the future. Both nations are helping build a more inclusive and united world order through their emerging discussions of FIPA. Not only will these discussions strengthen their relationship with Canada, they also open up new opportunities for Taiwan to work with other nations, creating a stronger world order. Taiwan has been interested in creating a stronger international presence and is beginning to work with other countries like the United States, Japan, Singapore, and New Zealand.
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