Canada pushes Canada-Taiwan Relations Framework Act through first reading in Congress

The Canada-Taiwan Relations Framework Act (CTRFA) was introduced in the House of Commons on June 17 to strengthen Canada’s relationship with Taiwan through a legal framework, and was passed by the full House on first reading by acclamation.

Over the past two years, experts have been calling for Canada to borrow from the U.S. Taiwan Relations Act to enact a Canadian version of the legislation. “It’s time for Canada and Taiwan to reshape their relationship to reflect the realities of Taiwan,” he said. The bill was passed by the House of Commons by unanimous acclamation.

Important elements of the bill include: support for Taiwan’s participation in multilateral international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); exemption from visa requirements under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act when the President or senior government officials of Taiwan visit Canada unofficially; inclusion of Taiwan when Canadian law refers to a foreign country or its government; and the ability of Canada and Taiwan to mutually Canada and Taiwan may enter into agreements with each other, including international agreements between countries, etc.

In order to normalize Canada-Taiwan relations and also allow the Taiwan office in Canada to be given its proper name, Cooper said: “This bill renames the Taiwan office in Canada from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office to the Taiwan Representative Office to reflect its true function, which is to represent the government of Taiwan, and Taiwanese in Canada, not just the capital city of Taipei.”

Cooper said the bill does not conflict with Canada’s “one-China” policy and that Canada’s relationship with Taiwan should not be subject to the Chinese Communist regime.

Former Canadian federal member of the House of Commons Liang Center has been actively promoting substantive economic and trade relations between Canada and Taiwan since the 1980s, leading to the establishment of a Canadian trade office in Taiwan in Taipei in 1986. He echoed Cooper’s words, saying that when Canada and China established diplomatic relations in 1970, Canada did not directly recognize Taiwan as part of China in the diplomatic communiqué, but rather said it “took note of” China’s position.

“At that time, during the time of Prime Minister Trudeau, we said we took note of China’s one-China position (take note of), so Canada should have an independent policy toward Taiwan, like the European Union and some countries in the United States, and not be influenced by China or other countries.”

The late former Rep. Jim Abbott (R-Okla.) introduced the Taiwan Affairs Act in 2005, which was sent to the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee for consideration after the first reading process, but the legislation was not completed due to the dissolution of Congress. After all, Taiwan is Canada’s 13th largest trading partner and the fifth largest trading partner in Asia. Canada and Taiwan share the same values of democracy and freedom, and strengthening their relationship will do Canada more good than harm.