Director General of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Toronto (Toronto TECO) Catherine Y. M. Hsu, invited by Kimie Hara, Director of East Asian Studies, Renison University College (RUC) of the University of Waterloo, on March 7 gave a speech entitled “Taiwan’s Diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific Region: Focusing on Its Relations with Canada and Its New Southbound Policy” at the University.
DG Hsu opened her speech with a brief introduction of the geography and economic development in both Taiwan and Canada. She then highlighted several policy priorities promoted by Taiwan’s new government and President Tsai Ing-wen, emphasizing the shared common values of freedom, democracy and human rights between Taiwan and Canada. Moreover, she also listed similar policy concepts of the two countries, such as economic innovation, social equality, transitional justice, green power for environmental protection and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. In addition, DG Hsu also mentioned recent developments in Taiwan-Canada relations, such as visa-waivers, increase of direct flights and working holiday visa. Those developments, she noted, have stimulated the growth of visitors from one side to the other.
During her presentation, DG Hsu also stressed that the trade ties between Taiwan and Canada are mutually complementary and beneficial. Taiwan hopes that after the Avoidance of Double Taxation Arrangement (ADTA) between Taiwan and Canada becoming effective in early this year, the two sides will soon convene the talk on Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) to further promote trade and investment. In addition, DG Hsu also introduced the Five Innovative Industries Project—Biotechnology, Asian Silicon Valley, Smart Machinery, Green Energy Technology and National Defense, which, DG Hsu hoped, would create more opportunities for economic cooperation between Taiwan and Canada. Besides, DG Hsu also brought to the audience’s attention Toronto TECO’s recent works in promoting academic and cultural exchanges. She encouraged faculty members and students in the audience to make good use of Taiwan government’s scholarships and grants and go to Taiwan for study and travel.
Another focus of DG Hsu’s talk is Taiwan’s “New Southbound Policy,” which aims to forge a mutually beneficial model of cooperation and create a sense of economic community with ASEAN and South Asia countries, as well as New Zealand and Australia in aspects of economic cooperation, talent exchange, resource sharing and regional connectivity. DG Hsu also elaborated Taiwan’s South China Sea Policy, stressing Taiwan’s position of “setting aside disputes so as to enable joint development.” As part of DG Hsu’s presentation, a video was played to illustrate Taiwan’s ecological and peaceful approaches to developing Taiping Island, the largest naturally formed island in the South China Sea, under Taiwan’s governance.
More than 30 persons attended the event, including Professor Blaine Chiasson from Wilfrid Laurier University, RUC faculty members and students, leaders of the Taiwanese community in Waterloo and Director Alicia Wang of Toronto TECO. The presentation received a warm response from the audience.