Canada Trade Office celebrates 35 years in Taiwan

from Canada de facto The embassy is celebrating its 35th anniversary in Taiwan this year, after witnessing the country’s democratic transformation amid growing cooperation between Taipei and Ottawa in several areas, said Jordan Reeves, executive director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei. (CTOT).

CTOT represents the interests of Canada in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic relations.

“We are celebrating the 35th anniversary of CTOT, but we are also celebrating Taiwan’s successful transition to a democratic, high-tech society, as this has certainly contributed to the richness and diversity of our interpersonal relationships today,” said Reeves .

Photo: ANC

CTOT opened on November 28, 1986, with just three employees and with the goal of supporting bilateral trade and Canadians living in Taiwan, he said.

“At the time, there were no direct flights to Canada, bilateral trade was only C $ 1.6 billion. [US$1.25 billion] and of course Taiwan at that time was still under martial law, ”he said.

Taiwan has changed a lot since then. It became a democracy, with its first direct presidential election held in 1996, he said.

“Taiwan has also made tremendous strides in terms of gender equality, human rights, democratic governance, media freedom, all of those areas, and has become a trusted friend and business partner for Canada. Said Reeves.

Trade between the two countries was valued at C $ 7.5 billion in the first nine months of the year, he said, adding that trade had grown by 10% per year since the opening. from the office.

Today, three airlines offer direct flights between Taiwan and Canada, although most have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reeves said that since 1986, the two countries have signed 40 memoranda of understanding in areas ranging from agricultural science to transport and security, of which 28 are still in effect.

“You can say that the expansion of our office, our size and our responsibilities have also closely followed Taiwan’s transition to a vibrant and economically diverse inclusive society,” he said.

Citing an area of ​​close bilateral cooperation, Reeves said Taiwan’s national health insurance scheme, launched in 1995, was in part modeled on Canada’s universal health care system.

More recently, Canadian public health officials participated in discussions with Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare to learn from Taiwan how to better control and manage COVID-19, he said.

Another area of ​​cooperation relates to indigenous issues, and the two countries have been organizing exchanges and collaboration between indigenous leaders, policy makers and artists for two decades, Reeves said.

“We also launched a working holiday program for Taiwanese youth in 2010, and as part of this program to date 12,000 Taiwanese youth have visited Canada,” he said.

Looking to the future, Reeves said the latest round of annual Canada-Taiwan economic dialogues, held on December 14, will strengthen supply chain cooperation and deepen bilateral trade and investment ties. , with plans to undertake a joint study of the supply chain in sectors of mutual interest.

The two countries also discussed hosting a series of trade roundtables starting next year focusing on electric vehicles, 5G, advanced manufacturing and other areas, according to a press release from the CTOT.

Taiwan was Canada’s 15th largest trading partner and sixth in Asia last year, CTOT said.

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