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Hsieh, Ma spar over cross-strait trade in TV forum

Emphasizing the importance of social fairness and justice, ruling Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh Friday urged his Kuomintang rival Ma Ying-jeou to quit promoting the cross-strait common market that Hsieh warned will hurt Taiwan's economy and the welfare of its people.
Ma countered the charge by saying that Hsieh purposely distorted his cross-strait policy and stressed he never promised to open Taiwan's market to Chinese labor or all kinds of Chinese commodities.
Rather, the frontrunner said he will seek to create more wealth by increasing the government's economic development spending, if he wins the presidential election on March 22.
The two traded old barbs in the first of three televised platform presentation sessions sponsored by the Central Election Commission Friday evening.
Hsieh, who is considered a moderate in his pro-independence party in dealing with China, urged the public not to compromise Taiwan's sovereignty in the pursuit of greater economic prosperity.
He noted that the influx of shoddy Chinese goods has already taken toll on assorted domestic business sectors and the cross-strait common market, if realized, will force more firms out of the arena.
"A barbershop owner begged me not to allow her Chinese counterparts to enter Taiwan or her job would be taken away,”Hsieh said, warning that the government will be unable to rein in illegal commercial activities once it opens the door wider as Ma has proposed.
Rather, the DPP nominee argued that his proposal to more equitably distribute the nation's wealth promises a better measure to improve the public's standard of living.
To that end, Hsieh said he will introduce a bold tax reform package that will lower income, business gains and inheritance taxes among others, if he is elected.
Also, he pledged to issue an amnesty to Taiwan businesspeople, who set up companies in China in defiance of existing cross-strait investment rules.
Ma blamed the inept DPP administration for Taiwan's economic stagnancy for the past eight years and contended that expanding domestic demand, not integrating markets across the Strait, dominates his economic plan.
The KMT nominee said he does intend to improve cross-strait ties and pledged to recognize Chinese university diplomas as part of the endeavor. But Ma said he never promised to allow Chinese to apply for professional certificates or licenses here.
"As a president, I will not sell out Taiwan to China but will sell the island's agricultural produce to the vast Chinese market,”Ma said.
Also, Ma said the government under his leadership will institute cross-strait charter flight services on weekends as soon as the beginning of this July though Taiwan cannot settle the matter single-handedly.

Updated : 2021-05-09 17:46 GMT+08:00