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President urges Canada to help Taiwan join TPP

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the government hopes to sign a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement as well as an avoidance of double taxation agreement with Canada.

The government also hopes that Canada can help Taiwan join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Ma added.

The president made the comments during a meeting with Canadian Senator James Cowan, Canadian Member of Parliament Dominic LeBlanc and other Canadian lawmakers at the Presidential Office.

TPP member states account for 36 percent of Taiwan's trade, while Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member states account for 57 percent of Taiwan's trade, Ma said, adding that the TPP and the RCEP are key to Taiwan's participation in regional economic integration.

Bilateral trade between Taiwan and Canada has exceeded CA$6 billion (approximately NT$162.8 billion) per annum over the past two years, Ma said, adding that Taiwan is Canada's 14th largest trade partner in the world, as well as its 4th largest trade partner in Asia behind mainland China, Japan and South Korea.

The president said that Taiwan and Canada have signed a working holiday agreement, while Canada has also included Taiwan in its visa exemption program, helping boost travel from Taiwan to Canada by 15 percent.

After both sides signed a new freedoms of the air agreement, flights from Taiwan to Canada have increased from 13 to 17, Ma said, adding that the government expects that number to increase to 21 within two years.

Ma said that he hopes to invite the chairman of the Canadian Liberal Party to Taiwan.

The president pointed out that Taiwan will soon allow Canadian bone-in beef in order to increase bilateral trade.

He explained that after a long period of discussion and observation, the government concluded that the production processes of Canadian beef were compliant with World Organisation for Animal Health and World Trade Organization regulations.

The government also looked at the examples of 57 countries, including Japan, South Korea and those within the EU, in deciding to lift restrictions on Canadian bone-in beef, the president said.

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