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Canada provincial premier sees potential in Taiwan on 1st visit

TAIPEI -- A provincial premier of Canada said during his first visit to Taiwan Wednesday that he sees great opportunities in the island and looks forward to more cooperation and partnerships between the two sides.

Premier Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island (PEI) is leading a trade mission to Taiwan to stimulate economic growth, trade and international investment. It marks the first time a Canadian provincial premier has visited the nation since 1993.

“We come here to showcase ourselves to Taiwan ... Hopefully, I'll set a little bit of precedent and you'll see more provinces coming to Taiwan,” Ghiz said during a luncheon with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan.

His delegation of business and education representatives will explore partnership opportunities in agri food and seafood, research, education and tourism, said Ghiz, who was scheduled to leave for Hong Kong the following day.

He said that the relationship between Prince Edward Island and Taiwan is in its early stages, with a lot of potential for growth.

Asked if he has any advice for Taiwan's economic growth, Ghiz took his island as an example, saying that the province has been diversifying its economy.

Mainly concentrating on agriculture, fishery and tourism until about 20 years ago, PEI now also has interests in aerospace, bio-science, renewable energy and information technology, he said.

“It's important to diversify your economy and look for trade opportunities,” he added. “The more trade you can undertake, the better off for all citizens.”

As the smallest province in Canada, PEI exported over CA$870 million (US$792.36 million) worth of goods in 2012. PEI's exports to Taiwan have experienced significant growth over the past five years, from CA$1.7 million in 2008 to CA$4 million in 2012, according to the province.

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