China Trade Friction May Last 20 Years: Jack Ma

Mae Love
September 22, 2018

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.

But Ma told official news agency Xinhua his vow had been made on the basis of continued cooperation and trade growth between the United States and China, and would now be hard to fulfill.

Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma attends the WAIC (World Artificial Intelligence Conference) in Shanghai, China, September 17, 2018.

In August 2017, Mr Trump ordered an investigation of Chinese trade practices, accusing the country of unfair treatment of USA companies.

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.

"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.

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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 USA action.

Ma told Xinhua he believes trade should never be used as a "weapon". "Trade should be the propeller of peace".

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

This April, the company bought Hangzhou C-Sky Microsystems, a company that specialises in producing microchips. He announced last week that he will step down from Alibaba in a year's time, handing over the reins to CEO Daniel Zhang. When commenting about his coming retirement, Ma says he has been prepared for it for over 10 years.

"China has been forced to take retaliatory measures, and they are entirely meant to protect China's own interests", commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a weekly news briefing in Beijing.

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