Canada’s IPS Takes Shape, with Spotlight on Taiwan, India

On Tuesday, Global Affairs Canada announced that Canada will begin formal negotiations with Taiwan on a foreign investment promotion and protection arrangement (FIPA). International trade minister Mary Ng agreed to launch the talks during a meeting the same day with John Deng, Taiwan’s top trade negotiator. Taiwan had a cameo in Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), with the government stating that Canada would engage with Taiwan on trade, technology, democratic governance, and more. Last month, Taiwan announced it would open a regional office in Montreal in 2023, while Canada stepped up its game in Taipei in October 2022, tapping Jim Nickel, former chargé d’affaires in Beijing, to assume the top diplomatic job there.

Taiwan a tightrope for policymakers

If history is any indication, the FIPA talks will rankle Beijing. In October 2022, a delegation of Canadian MPs led by Judy Sgro flew to Taiwan, briefly meeting with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen. In the lead-up to the trip, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa warned that China will take “forceful” measures against any country that “interferes with or infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Ominous threats aside, Ottawa seems intent on pursuing the objectives of the IPS, which means walking the tightrope of China-Taiwan tensions: strengthening its relationship with Taiwan while staying true to its One China policy. In 2021, two-way investment between Canada and Taiwan hit C$639 million. People-to-people ties are strong, too: around 200,000 Canadians of Taiwanese origin live in Canada, while 60,000 Canadians live in Taiwan.

Joly’s India trip focuses on migration, mobility

As Ng courted Deng virtually, foreign minister Mélanie Joly flew to India under the auspices of the IPS. Joly met with India’s Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in New Delhi for the Canada-India Strategic Dialogue and discussed trade, security co-operation, migration and mobility, and more. “We know we already have strong people-to-people ties and we can also strengthen economic ties with India,” said Joly in an Instagram story today. “The goal,” she said, “is to make sure that families can see their loved ones here in Canada more easily, and vice versa.”