TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Canada looks to expand into Asia-Pacific markets, Ottawa should consider expanding engagement with Taiwan, according to an op-ed by Andy Kang-I Chen (陳剛毅), director general at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Vancouver.
In an editorial published in the Vancouver Sun on Tuesday (Aug. 4), Chen said there has been a growing consensus in Canada over the last five years that Ottawa should increase engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. Chen pointed out how both countries value democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, in addition to same-sex marriage and gender equality.
Taiwan has built a favorable environment for foreign direct investment (FDI), Chen said, citing Taiwan government figures. He said FDI had risen by 9.27 percent in the first half of 2020 to US$3.84 billion.
This has been helped by the Foreign Professionals Act and the Employment Gold Card, which allows professionals from around the world to live in Taiwan with the same working rights as Taiwanese citizens.
Ottawa and Taipei could also benefit in the area of healthcare, which has historical precedence. Between 1872 to 1901, George Leslie Mackay, a Canadian Presbyterian missionary from Ontario, set up Taiwan’s first Western dental service.
Beside Taiwanese and Canadian companies already cooperating in the areas of biotechnology and aerospace, Chen said bilateral exchanges could also be improved in clean technologies, renewable energies, smart cities, and information and communications technology (ICT).
He also mentioned that for Canadian businesses looking to increase their presence in Asia, Taiwan’s location in the region makes it ideal for traveling to other major cities like Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, Hanoi, Bangkok, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta. Taiwan also serves as a major outsourcing platform for global companies with high-quality original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), distributors, and retailers.
Chen ended by saying the two countries could collaborate in several areas. Given the current geopolitical complexities, since both nations have mature democracies with reliable economies and innovative capacity it would makes sense for them to collaborate further.