Cross-strait finance talks to continue as scheduled

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Dec 03, 2014 - Page 13

Taiwan is set to continue talks with China over liberalizing the financial sector, saying they would not be delayed due to the Cabinet reshuffle, a Financial Supervisory Commission official said yesterday.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and his entire Cabinet resigned on Monday in the wake of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) massive defeat in the nine-in-one elections on Saturday last week.

That has left the Cabinet in a caretaker role until a new premier is sworn in, and fueled concern over the possible delay of the meetings of the cross-strait financial supervisory platform for banking, insurance and the securities and futures sectors, which are scheduled to be held in Beijing from Dec. 24 to Dec. 27.

However, Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman William Tseng (曾銘宗) said the meetings would take place as scheduled, to the best of his knowledge.

“We have not yet received any messages from our Chinese counterparts to request for the meetings to be rescheduled until after the Cabinet reshuffle,” Tseng told reporters by telephone yesterday morning after attending the opening ceremony for CTBC Financial Holding Co’s (中信金控) new headquarters based in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港).

Since the cross-strait service trade agreement is still suspended pending approval by the legislature, the meetings of the cross-strait financial supervisory platform for banking, insurance and the securities and futures sectors would be considered as regular gatherings for exchanges of opinions, Tseng said.

After the Cabinet’s resignation, Tseng said he had “no comment” on the plans for the legislature’s Finance Committee meeting tomorrow to review amendments to capital gains tax on stock transactions, which are scheduled to go into effect next year.

The committee is set to raise the ceiling of the proposed new tax gains on heavy stock investors to more than NT$5 billion (US$161 million) in annual trading, from NT$1 billion proposed by the Ministry of Finance.

The committee might even make plans to scrap the revision entirely.

KMT Legislator Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才) said the proposed new equity capital gains tax would only generate NT$900 million in tax revenue, but it has already pared down the stock market’s daily turnover before even taking effect.

That also makes the TAIEX less attractive compared with Hong Kong’s stock market, according to Lo.