Taiwan or 'Chinese Taipei?' CBSA remarks raise questions amid Chinese global-pressure campaign

By On July 27, 2018

Taiwan or 'Chinese Taipei?' CBSA remarks raise questions amid Chinese global-pressure campaign

Canada July 27, 2018 5:05 pm Taiwan or ‘Chinese Taipei?’ CBSA remarks raise questions amid Chinese global-pressure campaign

The flag of the Republic of China, also known as Taiwan, is seen here.;

The flag of the Republic of China, also known as Taiwan, is seen here.

Mandy Cheng/AFP/GettyImages

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The federal government is not saying whether a decision by the Canada Border Services Agency to refer to Taiwan as “Chinese Taipei” is an error or a new policy.

In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, the CBSA announced it had launched an investigation into whether certain types of steel products are being dumped on the Canadian market by “China, Chinese Taipei, India and South Korea.”

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READ MORE: Why China is making brands nervous to acknowledge Taiwan

While the concerns over accusations of dumping are not new, calling Taiwan by the name China has been aggressively pushing for other countries and businesses to a dopt over recent years is inconsistent with government communications in the past and if it was intentional, would represent what one former Canadian ambassador to China called a troubling move.

“There’s no need to use it in the context that border service folks are using it,” said David Mulroney, former Canadian ambassador to China and former executive director of the Canadian Trade Office based in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.

“When it’s an economic issue, using Taiwan is absolutely appropriate and changing it to ‘Chinese Taipei’ would be a step in the wrong direction.”

WATCH BELOW: Air Canada causes a stir by classifying Taiwan as part of China

The name “Chinese Taipei” is a term agreed upon by China and Taiwan for when Taiwan participates in inte rnational activities such as the Olympic games.

It is not, however, generally used in trade or diplomatic descriptions.

Mulroney stressed he suspects the use of the name was likely a mistake by the CBSA, pointing to the fact the press release came not from Global Affairs Canada but from the border services agency.

If so, it needs to be corrected.

“I think the fact that it’s coming from CBSA rather than Foreign Affairs suggests it’s a mistake,” he said.

“But if it’s a mistake, they should change quickly for the sake of accuracy and consistency in policy.”

Global News requested clarification from Global Affairs Canada, the Prime Minister’s Office and the CBSA but has not received any responses.

READ MORE: China ‘can’t stand’ Justin Trudeau’s talk of human rights, diversity: Ian Bremmer

All of the websites managed by Global Affairs Canada about trade in Taiwan, visiting or moving there, and about joint relations between Canada and Taiwan refer to the island officially known as the Republic of China as Taiwan.

A search of listings on the Global Affairs Canada website returned a total of 253 search results for “Taiwan” and just 28 for “Chinese Taipei.”

Statistics Canada also refers to the island, which China considers a renegade province, as Taiwan, Mulroney said.

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A press release from Liberal MP Bob Nault, who led a parliamentary delegation on a trip to Taiwan in January 2018, does as well.

Nault also could not be reached for comment.

The use of the term comes amid escalating aggression from China against businesses that do not cave to its demands to explicitly refer to Taiwan as Chinese territory.

WATCH BELOW: Canada’s trade mission in China yields uncertainty

Mercedes-Benz, Zara, The Gap and Delta Air Lines are just some of the high-profile examples of brands that have apologized over cases where China complained photos or wording on products they carry did not adhere to the One China policy because they did not recognize Taiwan as part of China.

While Taiwan has elected its own governments since 1949, China asserts the island belongs to it and will one day be back under its control.

In May, Air Canada also joined the ranks of companies that have bowed to Chinese pressure.

READ MORE: Taiwan is no longer listed as independent country on Air Canada booking website

< p>It now lists flight destinations as heading to “Taipei, CN.,” rather than Taiwan.

The Trudeau government has repeatedly been criticized for refusing to condemn Chinese aggression and human rights in the country.

As well, efforts to explore free-trade talks with China have been met with skepticism domestically amid concerns over Chinese state-owned businesses, labour standards and its treatment of dissidents.

READ MORE: No free trade with China under a Conservative government, says Andrew Scheer

Erin O’Toole, Conservative foreign affairs critic, said calling Taiwan “Chinese Taipei” is a problem.

“We are disappointed that Justin Trudeau has acquiesced to unfair Chinese demands with respect to Taiwan,” he said.

“For decades, Canada and Taiwan have enjoyed a vibrant economic relationship, as well as close people-to-people ties. This should be maintained and respected. At a time when many other countries are calling o ut unfair trade, diplomatic and other practices by China, only the Trudeau Liberals appear to be turning a blind eye to these actions.”

He added, “A Conservative government will respect this relationship and the people of Taiwan while adhering to Canada’s long-standing one-China policy.”

This story will be updated if and when clarification is received.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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