Taiwan trade discussed during diplomats’ visit

Taiwan’s most senior diplomat in Canada stopped by Langley to meet local business leaders, educators, and politicians Thursday.

Dr. Chih-Kung Liu is Taiwan’s official representative in Canada. Along with a group of officials from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) and the Taiwan Trade Centre in Vancouver, spoke at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Langley campus.

Liu said his approach in Canada is to go directly to meet with stakeholders wherever they area, and in the last two years he’s traveled from Edmonton to Waterloo, Saskatoon to Charlottetown.

In terms of trade, Liu said that everyone in the west is talking about mainland China.

Taiwan is a Chinese culture, but is separate from the mainland and has been ever since 1949, at the end of the civil war between the nationalists and the communists.

“Taiwan can play a bridging role between Canada and mainland China,” Liu said.

The island of 23 million people is itself a good market for Canada, Liu said, saying Taiwan is always looking for imports of healthy foods, and that it’s a solid place for high tech companies looking for partnerships in Asia.

The meeting was organized by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, along with Langley MP Mark Warawa.

Warawa said there has been a great deal of discussion recently about how to create relationships between Canada and Taiwan.

It’s a good entry point for Canadian businesses to Asia because it’s a democratic country that shares the same values as Canada, Warawa said.

The MP also noted that B.C., Alberta, and Quebec all formerly had offices in the Canadian trade office established in Taiwan.

About eight years ago, B.C. closed its own office, but Warawa said he’s speaking to Langley’s two MLAs, Mary Polak and Rich Coleman, about re-opening that operation.

“Because that opens the doors, and very important doors,” Warawa said.

Taiwan can’t have official ambassadors in Canada, nor can Canada establish official embassies in Taiwan, due to the “one China” policy. Most western countries only recognize mainland China as a country, rather than Taiwan. The Communist Party-ruled mainland insists that Taiwan is a rebel province, although there is trade and diplomacy between both countries and the rest of the world.

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