Thu, Jan 23, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Canadian lawmaker eyes trade deals

Staff writer, with CNA

A visiting Canadian parliamentarian expressed hope on Tuesday that Taiwan’s recent announcement that it would allow more Canadian beef products into the country would pave the way for signing more trade-related agreements between the two countries.

Dominic LeBlanc, leader of the house of the opposition Liberal Party, said he hopes the momentum around the beef issue would “make it easier” to conclude an investment agreement and a double taxation avoidance agreement between Taiwan and Canada.

“I think both sides have a lot to gain by signing those agreements,” he told the Central News Agency in an interview.

His remarks came a day after he and a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians met with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), during which Ma expressed the hope of signing the two agreements with Canada.

Taiwan’s relaxation of restrictions on Canadian beef products is “good news” for the Canadian beef industry, LeBlanc said, adding that the beef issue has been a “long-standing challenge” for Canada.

Taiwan banned beef imports from Canada in 2003 when a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, was confirmed in the country for the first time. It then lifted its ban on imports of Canadian boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age in 2007.

On Friday last week, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that the country would allow imports of Canadian bone-in beef and other meat products from cattle under 30 months of age.

LeBlanc said he hopes the relaxation of the restrictions would be an example of a number of things the two sides can do to increase trade opportunities in such areas as public transportation, telecommunications, aerospace and seafood.

On the issue of Taiwan’s bid to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc, he said he thinks TPP partners “have an interest in including as many countries who want to participate as possible.”

He also described Taiwan as “an important economy.”

The TPP is being negotiated by the US and 11 Pacific Rim nations, including Canada.

LeBlanc, who is visiting Taiwan for the first time, said he would share his positive experiences of Taiwan with students at the universities and high schools in his constituency of Beausejour, New Brunswick, in eastern Canada when he visits them later this year in an effort to promote more understanding of Taiwan among Canadian young people.

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