Tue, May 07, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Terry Gou says US-China dispute good for economy

‘OPPORTUNITY TO SEIZE’:The Hon Hai chairman and presidential hopeful said that Taiwan could benefit if the Chinese market is reshaped by a US-based supply chain

By Natasha Li  /  Staff reporter

Hon Hai chairman and presidential hopeful Terry Gou salutes at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Reuters / Tyrone Siu

Taiwan’s economy would benefit from the US-China trade dispute, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海集團) chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) said at a news conference yesterday after returning from a trip to the US, where he met with US President Donald Trump.

Trump on Sunday tweeted that the US might add tariffs to US$200 billion of Chinese goods as he expressed frustration with the speed of talks with China.

“I told Trump that I came as a peacemaker,” Gou said of the meeting, which he said was based on friendship, not political considerations.

“The US should not and cannot interfere with Taiwan’s presidential elections,” he said, adding that he would seek the further development of the bilateral relationship, as well as peace for Taiwan, the US and China.

Hon Hai has committed to investing US$10 billion on a flat-panel display factory in Wisconsin, creating a reported 13,000 jobs and helping the US develop its technology supply chain.

“The Chinese market would change greatly if the US builds its own supply chain, so Taiwan can play a bigger role in the trade dispute,” Gou said, adding that Taiwan has a unique position and an economy that is interdependent with the US and China.

“That is why I am seeking the presidency: I would lead Taiwan to seize this opportunity,” he said.

A “triple-win” situation is possible, he said, adding that the Washington-Beijing trade negotiations would end within three months.

Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) earlier yesterday said that an increase in tariffs by the US would prompt more Taiwanese companies to move operations back to the nation.

Gou said that the most pressing issue for him is to address the “China” matter and he would urge Beijing to recognize and acknowledge the Republic of China’s existence.

“China has to recognize the Republic of China established by Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) in 1911, I will make the Beijing authorities admit the existence of the Republic of China,” he said.

He would seek talks with Beijing on a “mutually equal basis” to boost economic development across the Taiwan Strait, Gou said.

Taiwan’s stagnating economy is due mainly to a lack of global investment, he said.

“As one of the 25 most notable chairmen in the world, I know how to create a propitious environment for investment,” Gou said, adding that he would work to provide jobs for the younger generation.

When asked about Hon Hai’s production sites in China, Gou said that adjustments have been made.

He denied there was risk that Beijing would hold sway over him because of his firm’s investments in China.

In the case of a potential Chinese threat “I would move my production sites to more profitable locations,” he said.

Gou declined to answer questions about who would take over at Hon Hai, with a new board of directors to be announced on Friday, with his replacement expected to be one of them.

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