Alibaba´s Ma says 1m United States jobs pledge thwarted by trade row

Ivan Schwartz
September 20, 2018

-China trade tensions, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

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.

Given China's counter-tariffs and the push for Chinese firms to find alternative, non-US sources for goods, the already optimistic pledge would be even more unlikely in the current environment.

Ma had offered the company's e-commerce platform to help US businesses sell products to Asia, with the potential of creating up to 1 million American jobs, during a meeting with US President Donald Trump in New York City in January a year ago. "There is no way to deliver the promise".

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Instead of helping American small businesses reach Chinese consumers, one of the richest men in China said Alibaba will seek business opportunities elsewhere, mainly in Russia, Europe, South America, and Africa.

As Alibaba grows into new markets, there will always be some sort of new burden they will have to accept. Ma made a call to postpone expansion into the United States, but itis hard to see Alibaba not expanding into the USA market at some point in the future. They have declined 5.7 per cent so far this year, including those gains. Ma suggested on Tuesday that in the medium term, production and supply chain elements for Chinese business be shifted to other countries rather than the US.

In April, Mr Ma doubled down on his pledge, claiming 10 million jobs could be created "if China and the United States maintain good trade relations".

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. Earlier on Tuesday, China had retaliated by slapping tariffs on Dollars 60 billion of American products and its state council announced that the new tariffs would be imposed at rates of 5% or 10%, depending upon the product from the same date. It's going to last long, it's going to be a mess. Beijing hit back on Tuesday with levies on $60 billion of USA products.

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