Tsai vows to strengthen Taiwan-Australia ties

President Tsai Ing-wen said March 3 that the government is committed to expanding Taiwan-Australia cooperation and exchanges across the board as part of efforts to further strengthen bilateral relations.
Ties between the two sides have gone from strength to strength recently, Tsai said, as evidenced by an organic equivalency arrangement signed in January granting market access to Australia for Taiwan’s additive- and pesticide-free products.
Growing people-to-people exchanges are another testament to this healthy state of affairs, Tsai said. More than 18,000 local students studied in Australia in 2019, and the number of young Australians undertaking research projects and internships in Taiwan is also expected to rise this year, she added.
Tsai made the remarks while receiving Australian Office Taipei Representative Gary Cowan at the Presidential Office in Taipei City.
According to Tsai, the government is hopeful of clinching an economic cooperation agreement with Australia. Taiwan stands ready to enter negotiations whenever necessary, she said.
Tsai also thanked Australia for speaking in support of Taiwan’s participation in the activities, mechanisms and meetings of international organizations in the past year during meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organization Council and the World Health Organization Executive Board.
The government will continue working with like-minded partners like Australia to fight against COVID-19, Tsai said, stressing that the courage and dedication of people from both sides is key to containing the disease.
The president further expressed condolences to Australia for losses caused by deadly bushfires this summer.
Australia is one of the countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy, a key plank in the government’s national development strategy since Tsai took office in 2016. The far-sighted initiative seeks to deepen Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, tourism and trade ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand. (YCH-E)
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