China trade war could last 20 years, says Ma

Sheri Evans
September 21, 2018

Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese retail giant Alibaba, is backing down on his promise to create 1 million jobs in the USA over the next five years, amid the ongoing trade war between President Trump and China.

Ma met Trump two years ago and laid out Alibaba's plan to bring small US businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers.

"The promise was made based on China and the USA having a collaborative and friendly relationship", he said in the Xinhua interview. "The current situation has already destroyed this original premise".

Ma, who recently announced his impending retirement from Alibaba, has been vocal in his condemnation of the escalating trade conflict between the US and China. "There is no way to deliver the promise", he said.

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".

While promising to "promote the healthy development" of Sino-US trade, the 54-year-old entrepreneur noted that the "previous basis for trade has been undermined", amid ongoing trade conflict between the world's two largest economies. "If China and the United States maintain good economic and trade relations, there will be no problem at all in providing the United States with 1 million jobs or even 10 million jobs", Ma said.

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But yesterday he said: "The trade in the world really needs to be perfected, but trade is not a weapon, it can not be used for war, it should be a propeller for peace".

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

China added $60 billion of US products to its import tariff list on Tuesday to hit back at USA duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods that go into effect from September 24.

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

Chinese firms with factories in the United States would also face higher costs as they ship US -assembled products back home.

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