A former government official warned yesterday that Chinese investors could become majority shareholders of up to half of Taiwan’s 16 financial holding companies and almost 40 percent of the banks in Taiwan under the cross-strait service trade agreement.
“The question is whether the nation wants to hand its financial autonomy to a country which claims that Taiwan is part of its territory and does not rule out taking it by force,” former Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) chairperson Shih Chun-chi (施俊吉) said.
Shih, who headed the financial regulatory agency in 2006 and 2007, made the comments at a forum organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to examine its governance performance between 2000 and 2008.
While the DPP has focused its opposition to the agreement on the pact’s possible negative impacts on the local beauty parlor sector, the printing and publishing industries and small businesses, Shih said that the banking sector might be most affected when the pact takes effect.
Under the agreement, Chinese investors would be allowed to hold up to 10 percent of the total shares of financial holding companies and 20 percent of the total shares of any financial holding company’s subsidiary bank, he said.
Most shareholders of the current 16 financial holding companies control less than 10 percent of the total shares, among them the Koo (辜) family, the biggest shareholder of CTBC Financial Holding Co (中信金控) with 8 percent of the total shares, he said.
Shih estimated that Chinese capital would be able to control eight of the 16 financial holding companies and up to 14 of Taiwan’s 38 banks.
“After the signing of the service trade pact, the door has been opened. Now, it is a national security issue,” Shih said.
Local bankers who wanted to expand their businesses in China have been lobbying and advocating the benefit of an open banking market, focusing only on their personal gain, without taking national security into consideration, he said.
The DPP initiated two financial reforms while it was in power, with the first reform successfully reducing non-performing loans and the success of the second reform, which aimed to reduce the number of banks, still pending, he said.
Hu Seng-cheng (胡勝正), also a former FSC chairman under the DPP administration, and Lu Chun-wei (盧俊偉), a researcher at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, both agreed that the DPP was able to improve financial regulatory efficiency, which was the main reason Taiwan was able to stay relatively unaffected by the global financial crises in 2001 and in 2008.
If Taiwan is to face future challenges to its financial stability, the primary source of instability would inevitably come from China, given the increasing exchanges across the Strait, they said.
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn