Alibaba’s Jack Ma says US-China tariff war could last 2 decades

Yolanda Curtis
September 20, 2018

HONG KONG: Alibaba founder Jack Ma said his ambitious pledge to create one million jobs in the U.S. had been scuppered by the trade row between Beijing and Washington, Chinese state news reported Thursday.

At a meeting at Trump Tower, Ma promised Trump he would work to create one million U.S. jobs, helping American businesses tap into China's growing market for consumer goods.

But Ma told Xinhua that his pledge had been made on the basis of continued cooperation and trade growth between the USA and China, and would now be hard to fulfill. "The current situation has already destroyed this original premise". Instead of building factories, or establishing Alibaba operation centers in the United States, the Chinese billionaire expressed hope that small American businesses can sell goods to consumers in China thereby creating more domestic jobs in the US.

Ma told Xinhua he believes trade should never be used as a "weapon".

"The economic outlook is not flawless of course, and it will last longer than people expect", Ma said at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin.

On Thursday, Ma said weakness in the economic outlook is "problematic" for the company.

Reiterating the need to focus on long-term plans instead of short-term ones, Ma called the growing dispute a "huge opportunity" and said: "If Alibaba cannot sustain and grow, no company in China can grow".

The day before, Trump had slapped a 10 percent tariff on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and threatened to impose duties on an additional $267 billion.

One million jobs would be close to 1 per cent of all jobs in the USA - meaning that successfully delivering on the pledge would make Alibaba one of the country's largest private employers.

Donald Trump and Jack Ma met in NY in January 2017. Beijing hit back on Tuesday with levies on $60 billion of United States products.

"Business communities in China, the USA and Europe will be all in trouble in the short term".

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