Taipei, Nov. 14 (CNA) Taiwan and Canada have concluded negotiations on an agreement to avoid double taxation and are expected to sign the pact soon, President Ma Ying-jeou said Friday.

Ma said during a meeting with visiting Canadian parliamentarians that Taiwan hopes to ink further bilateral agreements including an investment protection agreement to foster economic cooperation.

Taiwan is Canadas fourth largest trading partner in Asia and 11th worldwide, he said.

John Weston, a member of the House of Commons and chair of the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group, echoed enthusiasm for the tax agreement.

We hope to see the completion of the avoidance of double taxation agreement sometime soon, he said after the groups meeting with Ma.

After that, both countries will move on to a foreign investment protection agreement, he told CNA without giving details.

Weston said Taiwan and Canada share a common desire for free trade and have been supporting regional free trade discussions such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc for the Asia-Pacific region.

During his meeting with the Canada delegation, Ma also expressed hope that Canada will support Taiwans bid to join the TPP.

The relationship between Taiwan and Canada has been improving over the past several years, Ma said, citing as examples a reciprocal working holiday program and visa-waiver treatment granted by Canada in 2010 to Taiwanese passport holders.

Both countries also signed an agreement to increase air traffic last year, demonstrating a significant development in bilateral ties, Ma said.

(By Kelven Huang and Elaine Hou)

Finance ministers and tax chiefs from 51 countries signed an agreement on Wednesday to automatically swap tax information, which Germanys finance minister said heralded the end of tax evasion via secret bank accounts.

Lets make a joint contribution to more transparency and fairness in our globalized 21st century, Wolfgang Schaeuble told a taxation conference of about 100 countries coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Related: IRS Crackdown on Offshore Tax Cheats Comes with a Price

The pledge from so many countries - Schaeuble said there were 51 signatories from four continents, after one country joined at the last minute - is the result of years of OECD efforts to facilitate tax authorities access to bank data. OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said the taxation deal should help to recover the trust the public today has lost during the global financial crisis and economic downturn.

Tax evasion is not just illegal, it is immoral, Britains finance minister, George Osborne, told a news conference by the ministers. You are robbing from your fellow citizens and you should be treated like a common thief.

Schaeuble had told German newspaper Bild before the talks that the OECD agreement was making tax evasion more difficult, adding: Banking secrecy in its old form has had its day.

The European Union has enforced the automatic exchange of interest income since 2005 and Americas Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has required non-US institutions to provide US tax authorities with data on accounts since 2010.

Related: In Punishing IRS, GOP Harms Honest Taxpayers

The United States was not a signatory in Berlin. Gurria said it was having its own internal debate on taxes, but was a very strong supporter of everything we are doing. He added that Switzerland was part of the process but was not one of the 51 states which had agreed to be early adopters before the 2018 deadline.

Next Steps
Schaeuble said the OECD deal would not have been possible without FATCA, which was the trigger for our own process. The G5 biggest European economies - Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Britain - have negotiated with Washington for FATCA to be implemented reciprocally. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin described the Berlin agreement as the first pillar - fighting tax fraud committed by private people.

Then we need to reduce tax optimization by companies, he added. Schaeuble, whose father was a tax adviser, has campaigned for the European Union to close loopholes used by multinational firms to reduce tax bills by exploiting differences in national tax rules. He is now targeting patent boxes that permit firms tax breaks on profits generated by patented research.

But the 72-year-old minister said he had no illusions that the ancient art of tax evasion would be consigned to history. The risk of being found out becomes very high. But as long as people exist, they will not all obey the law. Theyll work out new ways to dodge taxes, Schaeuble said.

Related: Budget Cuts and Mismanagement Boost IRS Tax Cheats

But it should end the controversial practice of some German state governments of buying CDs with tax data stolen from Swiss banks, which has led to a rise in the number of people turning themselves in to avoid prosecution for evasion.

Hopefully tax CDs will soon no longer be worth it. I always found it problematic to cooperate with fences to enforce the law, said Schaeuble, referring to someone who receives stolen goods.

Additional reporting by Gernot Heller and Michael Nienaber, both of Reuters.

By Eric Kroh

Law360, New York (October 31, 2014, 2:13 PM ET) -- In this weeks Taxation with Representation, Chiquita Brands International Inc. gets picked up by private Brazilian investors with a little help from Skadden and Cravath attorneys, whileWestern Gas Partners LP buys Nuevo Midstream LLC in a $1.5 billion deal.

Chiquita Goes Private

Chiquita Brands International Inc. on Oct. 27 agreed to go private in a $681 million sale to a pair of Brazilian suitors days after its shareholders voted down the companys plans to merge with Irelands Fyffes PLC in a tax-inversion deal.Skadden Arps Slate Meagher...