Alibaba's Ma says 1m USA jobs pledge thwarted by trade row

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. chairman Jack Ma has sent out a grave warning regarding the trade war between the U.S. and China. Getty Images file

Trump on Monday imposed 10 percent tariffs on about $200 billion worth of imports from China, and threatened duties on about $267 billion more if China retaliated against the United States action.

Ma and Trump met in January 2017 to discuss how adding small and medium-sized United States businesses to Alibaba's platform would boost employment.

Separately, Ma had warned China's business and political leaders that the trade war between China and the US could last 20 years, longer than Mr. Trump's presidency, according to Bloomberg News.

Analysts said the early withdrawal of Ma, the charismatic face of a company that has revolutionized how and what China's people consume, will challenge Alibaba to carry on Ma's vision amid rising competition.

Chinese tech giant Alibaba will no longer bring the 1 million jobs it had promised to the USA because the hostile trade environment created by President Donald Trump and his ongoing tariff conflict with China has made such a plan impossible, the company's co-founder and chairman Jack Ma announced this week.

Ma has previously been critical of the protectionist moves from the Trump administration and said Wednesday that trade should not be used as a weapon, but rather as a way to bring peace between countries. "The situation now has completely destroyed our premise, so it can no longer be completed".

Ma said his commitment relied on friendly cooperation between the US and China, and on the "rational and objective premise of bilateral trade". "But if there is no trade between China, the 1 million jobs will be gone too".

He said new trade rules are desperately needed over the long-term. "There is no way to deliver the promise", he said.

Mr Ma pointed to business opportunities in other regions such as Europe, South America, Russia and Africa, Xinhua said.

He added US tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese products could prompt the country to export elsewhere.

Ma, expected to step down as Alibaba chairman in a year, predicted on Tuesday that trade frictions would lead to "a mess" for all parties involved.

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