KMT calls Taiwan 'orphan of global economy'

The KMT presidential candidate claims he would sign a number of regional trade agreements if elected

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Han Kuo-Yu at the 1st-anniversary mayoral parade in Kaohsiung

Han Kuo-Yu at the 1st-anniversary mayoral parade in Kaohsiung (CNA photo)

The Kuomintang (KMT) campaign office of presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) held a press conference on Wednesday (Dec. 11) announcing his determination to seal regional trade agreements once elected.

"The economic policy of Tsai's government has made Taiwan an orphan of the global economy. The government is pretending the crisis does not exist," claimed Wang Chiang-qiu (王淺秋), at Han's campaign office. She said expert-led fiscal policies, an improved investment climate, and tax benefits would attract foreign investment.

According to Lin Zu-jia (林祖嘉), an economic policy expert in Han's campaign office, Taiwan faces five dilemmas deriving from its economic isolation:

  1. Lack of integration with the global economy
  2. Unstable cross-strait relations
  3. Insufficient corporate investment
  4. Loss of professional human resources
  5. Snail-paced industrial transformation

The campaign office spokesperson added that if Han becomes president, Taiwan will apply to participate in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and renegotiate an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China.

"Compared to major Asian countries, Taiwan lags behind in terms of its scope for free trading," said Lin Zu-jia. He added, 86 percent of Singapore's exports are covered by free trade agreements; 64 percent for South Korea, 39 percent for Japan, 33 percent for China, while Taiwan only has 9.7 percent.

Even though Taiwan has just signed an FTA with two of its diplomatic allies — Eswatini and Paraguay — the trading volume represents less than 0.02% of Taiwan's total trading volume.

Lin said RCEP countries make up 30.7 percent of the world's GDP and 59 percent of Taiwan’s trading volume, while CPTTP represent 12.9 percent of global GDP and 24 percent of Taiwan’s trading volume. He claimed the current government is unable to make these crucial agreements.

Besides signing agreements, Han's office also proposed establishing a free trade zone and renegotiating its ECFA agreement with China. In this way Taiwan would not be left behind as the regional economy booms, Han's campaign office claimed.