Sat, Nov 01, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Legislators form bipartisan Canadian group

CNA , TAIPEI

A new association boosting parliamentary exchanges between Taiwan and Canada was formed yesterday by more than 60 legislators from across the political spectrum.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Kuo-chung (鄭國忠) said he and his colleagues decided to form the Taiwan-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Association after their Canadian counterparts established an amity group last year to promote exchanges with Taiwan's legislature.

Cheng said it was his understanding that 109 Canadian parliamentarians had already joined the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group.

John McKay, president of the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group, extended his congratulations on the establishment of the parallel parliamentary group in Taiwan by video.

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) and Ted Lipman, executive director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, attended the inaugural ceremony of the new friendship group in the legislature.

Addressing the ceremony, Lipman said Canada-Taiwan trade and economic relations have been cordial, with bilateral trade volume growing continuously.

Bilateral exchanges in other fields have also been growing steadily, Lipman said, adding that three Canadian parliamentary delegations have visited Taiwan over the past year.

He said the establishment of the Taiwan-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Association is of great significance in the development of relations between the two countries.

Kau said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will offer full support to the new parliamentary amity group as it marks an important step in promoting bilateral relations.

Despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties, Kau said, Taiwan-Canada relations were close.

Taiwanese citizens make an average of 150,000 visits to Canada annually, making Taiwan Canada's seventh-largest source of tourist arrivals.

The number of Taiwanese expatriates in Canada, including those undertaking advanced study there, has also been rising steadily, said Kau.

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