AUSTRALIA'S chief trade representative in Taipei is expected to be forced to resign over comments to the media that Canberra should be tougher with Beijing. It is understood the Australian Government is outraged at Ross Maddock's comments, particularly as relations between Taipei and Beijing are sensitive in the lead-up to presidential elections in Taiwan. Sources yesterday said Mr Maddock, the head of the Australian Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei, had been 'strongly reprimanded' and was in a 'very bad position'. It is understood Mr Maddock is discussing the terms of his resignation with the Australian Trade Commission, Austrade. Mr Maddock was quoted in The Australian on Wednesday as saying the Government's failure to take a harder line against Beijing's policy of isolating Taipei had cost hundreds of millions in lost exports. He was reported as saying Australia should be 'working hard' in mainland China, but 'I just think that we should be tougher'. 'We should stand up [to China] and I do not think it would affect our trade,' he was quoted as saying. 'No one from Taiwan visited Australia until the late 1980s and it has taken five or six years for people here to work out Australia is worth investing in.' Austrade managing director Ralph Evans, in a statement responding to the article, said the trade commission 'fully supports the Government's China policy and its implementation which has paid significant dividends'. Sources said a statement on Mr Maddock's future was being prepared and would be released soon, possibly today. Mr Maddock is in Australia for a conference and was not available for comment. A spokesman for Mr Maddock's office in Taipei said: 'We haven't heard anything more about this than what was reported in the newspaper'. Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans yesterday assured a visiting mainland official that Australia would abide by the 'one-China' policy. In a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Senator Evans reiterated that Canberra would not develop official relations with Taiwan and would confine its economic and commercial links with Taipei to a 'people-to-people framework'. Since breaking off ties with Taipei in 1972 and recognising Beijing's one-China policy, Australia has maintained a delicate balancing act in Taiwan, trading but avoiding official contacts. China has been exerting pressure on Australia and other countries to limit ties with Taiwan and Mr Maddock's comments are seen as coming at a particularly bad time, virtually forcing Austrade to take action against him.