Thu, Nov 08, 2007 - Page 3 News List

DPP split over Hsieh economic plan

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) liberal cross-strait economic policy was the focus of debate at the party's Central Standing Committee and met with much opposition, with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) showing some reservations.

"I have heard a report regarding the tax on inherited property and gifts from the Ministry of Finance," Chen said. "It said it was difficult to lower the tax to below 10 percent."

Chen made the remark at the party's Central Standing Committee meeting yesterday afternoon to discuss, among other items, Hsieh's cross-strait economic policy and government efforts to reclaim Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) stolen assets.

Hsieh on Monday proposed four strategies -- a wider opening to global capital, including investment from China; an amnesty to facilitate the return of capital previously remitted out of the country via underground or illegal channels; a lowering of taxes on inherited property and gifts to below 10 percent to encourage the wealthy to keep their money in Taiwan; and an adjustment to the 40 percent ceiling on investment in China on a case-by-case basis.

A majority of committee members opposed Hsieh's plan.

Kaohsiung County Commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) said that a 10 percent tax on inherited property and gifts was too low and unfair to some people.

DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) said Hsieh should focus his campaign on national identification rather than the economy lest he be dragged into a difficult battle by his KMT rival Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Regarding the KMT's stolen assets, Chen said he hoped to see a bill forcing the KMT to return the stolen assets to state coffers pass the legislature and a referendum seeking a reclaiming of KMT stolen assets succeed.

The referendum proposed by the DPP has passed the second phase of petition and is scheduled to be held in conjunction with the legislative election on Jan. 12.

DPP Culture and Information Department Director Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) said a KMT report showed that at its peak, its assets were worth as much as NT$91.8 billion (US$2.8 billion).

That amount dropped to NT$27.7 billion after Ma became party chairman.

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