Alibaba's Jack Ma says US-China trade friction could last 20 years

Alibaba blockchain

Alibaba blockchain

"The promise was made on the premise of friendly US-China partnership and rational trade relations", Ma told Chinese newspaper Xinhua on Wednesday. "That premise no longer exists today, so our promise can not be fulfilled". "We need new trade rules, we need to upgrade the WTO".

Ma had met US President Donald Trump two years ago and laid out the Chinese e-commerce giant's plan to bring one million small US businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years.

"Short term, business communities in China, US, Europe will all be in trouble", Ma said at the event, as quoted by Bloomberg, adding: "If you want a short-term solution, there is no solution".

China said it will impose retaliatory tariffs against $60 billion of USA goods, ranging from meat to wheat and textiles. "We have visited a lot of countries and regions and find opportunities are everywhere".

He said Alibaba has always worked towards the goal of "making it easy and fun to do business".

Ma's comments also followed his surprise announcement - on his 54th birthday last Monday - about retiring next year.

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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.

Ma expressed his thoughts while speaking at the Alibaba investor conference in Hangzhou shortly after the Trump-led US administration announced impositions of duty tariffs on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and China announcing retaliatory measures on import of USA products.

Last week, Ma announced he would be retiring from the executive chairman position of Alibaba within the next year, and has been planning on leaving for quite some time.

That would mean no easing of tensions between the world's top two economies for many years after President Donald Trump has left office, even if he serves a second term, the CNN reported. "This kind of thing happens, it's very natural".

Despite this, Alibaba will continue to strive to be "a company of globalisation", Ma said. "Otherwise we will never choose the name Alibaba, we'd choose another insane Chinese name that people don't understand. We are called Alibaba because this company must be globalised".

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