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“Taiwan and Canada: Partners of Shared Values and Interests” - a Global Taiwan Studies presentation at the University of Toronto

The Ministry of Education of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Munk School of Global Affairs of the University of Toronto are collaborating to support the Global Taiwan Studies initiative, a three-year program which began in June 2016. Two student organizations at the university, the Contemporary Asian Studies Student Union, and Taiwan Now, invited Ms. Catherine Y. M. Hsu, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Toronto, to give a presentation entitled “Taiwan and Canada: Partners of Shared Values and Interests” on October 28, 2016. This was the first of the Global Taiwan Lecture series at the University of Toronto, and more than 20 students and teachers attended.

Prof. Tong Lam, acting director of the Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies at the Asian Institute in the Munk School of Global Affairs, introduced Ms. Hsu. He praised Taiwan for its transformation from a young democracy to a mature one, pointing out that the importance of Taiwan should be placed in the global context. Given this, he believes that the Global Taiwan Studies project at the University of Toronto is of great significance as it will encourage academia to continue to focus on Taiwan from broader and more diverse viewpoints.

In her talk, Ms. Hsu briefly compared the national profiles and developments of Taiwan and Canada before elaborating on President Tsai Ing-wen’s policy priorities and outlines. She highlighted the common values of freedom, democracy and human rights that Taiwan and Canada share, as well as similar policy approaches of the two countries. She also illustrated developments in Taiwan-Canada relations in recent years citing examples such as visa-waivers, and working holiday visas (also known as International Experience Canada, IEC), and an increase in the number of direct flights.

Ms. Hsu stressed that the trade ties between Taiwan and Canada are complementary and mutually beneficial. Taiwan hopes that following the signing of the Avoidance of Double Taxation Arrangement (ADTA) between Taiwan and Canada earlier this year, the two sides will soon convene talks on Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) to further promote trade and investment. Ms. Hsu also spoke about the Five Innovative Industries Project and the New Southbound Policy being promoted by Taiwan’s new government, which it is hoped will create more business opportunities and trade cooperation. Ms. Hsu also listed some of the events and projects hosted and promoted by TECO in Toronto which are aimed at further advancing exchanges between Taiwan and Canada, particularly between young people.

Two more seminars will be held in November: “Gender Transformations in Sinophone Taiwan” on November 11, and “A dialogue on a Common Future: Social, Demographic, and Political Changes in East Asia” a week later on November 18.