Canada is represented in Taiwan by the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (CTOT), a locally-incorporated entity staffed by Canadian government and local Taiwanese personnel. The CTOT facilitates cooperation on trade and investment, science and technology, public policy issues, education and youth exchanges, arts and culture, and aboriginal affairs. Despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties, a robust and mutually-beneficial relationship has flourished between Canada and Taiwan.
People-to-people links are the foundation of the relationship. Currently, there are over 200,000 people of Taiwanese descent residing in Canada and an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 Canadians living in Taiwan. This makes the island home to one of the largest communities of overseas Canadians and the CTOT Canada's fourth-largest passport-issuing office outside North America.
In November 2010, Canada implemented a visa waiver allowing Taiwan passport-holders visa-free stay for up to six months. As a result, the number of Taiwanese visitors to Canada has steadily increased. According to the latest Taiwanese statistics, 123,000 Canadians visited Taiwan in 2014, an increase of 11 percent over 2013. Meanwhile, according to Statistics Canada, 76,124 Taiwanese tourists visited Canada in 2015, an increase of 5.1% over 2014.
As democratic development and good governance figure prominently in Canadian foreign policy priorities, the CTOT has worked to engage Taiwan on areas where it might benefit from Canadian expertise. This has included training government personnel in the implementation of UN human rights conventions that Taiwan has adopted unilaterally; a 2013 study tour to Canada by the Presidential Human Rights Consultative Committee special National Human Rights Institution taskforce; seminars and film screenings on LGBTI rights; and ongoing support for the Taiwan Human Rights Journal, the only human rights journal in the Chinese-speaking world. The CTOT has also worked with Taiwan in areas relating to migrants' rights, the rights of disabled persons, and ethics in journalism. The CTOT continues to hold roundtables and other events with the Taiwanese government and civil society in order to foster ongoing dialogue on human rights.
The CTOT first signed an MOU with Taiwan’s ministerial-level Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) in 1998 and renewed it in 2008. Over the past 28 years, exchanges have been reinforced in the areas of culture, education, policy, health and economic development.
Canada-Taiwan ties continue to strengthen and diversify through education and youth exchanges. Taiwanese enrolled in long-term studies in Canada contribute $101 million to the Canadian economy making Taiwan Canada's tenth-largest export market for education services. Through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, an additional 1000 Taiwanese youth visit Canada each year to travel and work.
Taiwan is Canada's fifth-largest trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region and ranks 12thworldwide. Total merchandise trade with Taiwan soared to $6.91 billion in 2015, up 14.61% year-over-year. Canadian exports are valued at $1.46 billion, and imports from Taiwan reached $5.45 billion. Canada's priority sectors in Taiwan are aerospace, rail transportation, information and communications technology, agri-food and seafood products, biotechnology, clean technologies and energy. Strategic cooperation on commercial matters is enhanced by the annual Canada-Taiwan Economic Consultations, a platform for setting joint priorities relating to market access, research and innovation, investment and other forms of economic engagement. These consultations have been instrumental in guiding the Canadian-Taiwanese relationship and have culminated in the signing of numerous Arrangements and Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) in a variety of sectors. In January 2016, a MOU on Telecommunications Cooperation and an Avoidance of Double Taxation Arrangement (ADTA) were signed by the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ottawa.
Canada's science & technology and research & development linkages with Taiwan continue to be among the strongest and most active Canada has anywhere in the world. The National Research Council, several Canadian universities, and a selection of research-intensive private-sector entities cooperate with Taiwanese counterparts to combine Canadian excellence in pure research with Taiwan's ability to commercialize innovation. Groundbreaking Canadian technology can be seen around the island, including in Taipei 101 which features a Canadian-engineered mass damper.
The stock of foreign direct investment in Canada from Taiwan was valued at $108 million at the end of 2015, while the stock of Canadian direct investment in Taiwan stood at $115 million in 2015, up from $17 million a year earlier (latest year for which data is available). As Taiwan's economy is dominated by SMEs, the majority of Taiwanese investment in Canada has been pursued by smaller companies, with a sectoral range including chemical manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, retail and ICT. Areas of potential include renewable energy, biotechnology and wireless technologies.
Taiwan and Canada have good cooperation in multilateral organizations where both have representation, such as APEC and the WTO, where both sides hold similar views on free trade and economic liberalization. Canada and Taiwan also cooperate in several regional fisheries management organizations to combat illegal fishing practices and help ensure a sustainable framework is in place for managing the world's fish stocks. Canada welcomes Taiwan's participation as an observer in the World Health Assembly (WHA) and was the first country to hold a bilateral meeting with Taiwan on the margins of the Assembly in 2009. Canada generally supports Taiwan's full participation in international organizations that do not require statehood as a prerequisite for membership, and meaningful participation in those that do when a practical imperative exists.
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