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KMT's Hou rejects criticism of cross-strait services trade pact

'Taiwan should not put all eggs in one basket,' presidential candidate says

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Hou Yu-ih speaks at a Taipei campaign event in late November. (CNA photo)

Hou Yu-ih speaks at a Taipei campaign event in late November. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) rejected criticism of cross-strait services trade on Sunday (Dec. 17) and indicated he believes Taiwan should trade more with China.

On Sunday (Dec. 17), Hou said that Taiwan should “not put all its eggs in one basket,” but that “some eggs should be placed in the largest basket” next to Taiwan. CNA reported that Hou was responding to criticisms leveled against the possibility of restarting negotiations on the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) made by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te (賴清德).

Lai said if implemented, the agreement would bind Taiwan’s economy to China’s, but Hou said that “trade cannot take sides” and that it must be global. He went on to criticize the DPP’s track record on international trade agreements.

Hou said that during the previous KMT administration of Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Taiwan signed free trade agreements with New Zealand and Singapore, per Storm Media. He added that under the Tsai administration, FTAs had only been signed with Eswatini and El Salvador.

The economic agreement with El Salvador ended in May after the central American country repealed it, following severing diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of China in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Tsai administration has signed trade accords with the U.S. on small and medium enterprises, measures against corruption, regulatory practices, and customs procedures. In early December, Taiwan’s trade negotiator said he wanted to build on the agreements.

China and Taiwan signed a cross-strait services trade agreement in 2013, but it was not ratified in Taiwan due to mass student protests opposing it. In 2010, Taiwan signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), an FTA with China.