Taiwan’s Presidential frontrunners clash over future of trade with Beijing – Times of India

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TAIPEI: Taiwan‘s presidential candidates clashed over future trade agreements with China on Tuesday, as the two leaders presented contrasting opinions regarding the same.
According to Taiwan News, the Kuomintang‘s (KMT) presidential candidate said he would prioritize negotiating further trade agreements with China if sworn into power.
Whereas, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) asserted that the move would do more harm than benefit Taiwan’s democracy, according to Taiwan News.
The remarks came during a televised policy address on Tuesday (December 26).
Hou Yu-ih of the KMT indicated he would negotiate further advancements to the Economic Cooperation Framework Pact (ECFA), a free trade pact inked with China in 2010, according to Taiwan News.
“There are many things that the ruling (DPP) is unwilling to do, so let Hou Yu-ih do it,” he told reporters.
Hou claimed that since taking office, the DPP has compromised the interests of Taiwanese farmers and fishermen by refusing to negotiate trade deals with China. He stated that he would initiate negotiations on the 12 Taiwanese petrochemical products that lost preferential treatment from China on December 21, according to Taiwan News.
Since Tsai Ing-wen gained office in 2016, cross-strait trade has surged by over 13 per cent, according to Hou, and despite the DPP’s previous criticism of ECFA, the party has “been dependent” on the trade deal.
Taiwan, an island with a democratically elected government, is seen by China as an integral part of it, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has stated that Taipei should be united with Beijing.
Meanwhile, in response, the DPP’s Lai stated that the KMT’s aspirations to expand trade deals under ECFA neglected the impact on Taiwan, and added that ECFA was being used to manipulate economic interests to influence the election outcome, Taiwan News reported.
Lai claimed that the KMT’s efforts to reopen discussions on the ECFA’s contentious services trade pact will result in a high number of Chinese students in Taiwan, “locking Taiwan’s economy to China’s.”



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