Jack Ma Says China-US Tariff War Nullifies Alibaba’s 1 Million US Jobs Promise

Jack Ma
Alibaba Group's Jack Ma attends the WAIC in Shanghai
(Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)

Jack Ma, the co-founder and out-going chairman of Alibaba says the Chinese mega e-commerce website may not be able to meet its initial plan to bring 1 million jobs in the US due to the on-going onslaught of the China-US trade war which has been affecting companies not only from the affected parties but from around the world as well.

In a statement given to a Chinese state-run news agency, Xinhua, the Chinese billionaire revealed that Alibaba is now retracting the promise it made earlier with Donald Trump to create the aforementioned number of job opportunities in the North American nation.

Ma and Trump met two years ago and came into an agreement to that plan which is supposed to take place within the next five years, a report from Reuters said. The former English teacher didn't exactly detail how he would implement the plan but an overview he gave suggested that he would encourage small businesses in America to put up their wares on Alibaba marketplaces such as Tmall and Taobao. Upon joining the platform, businesses would have no choice but to employ new personnel just to overlook its e-commerce sales.

But that commitment, according to Ma, was based on the earlier situation when Beijing and Washington were still on friendly and cooperative terms. The assumption was that both China and the US shared a rational and objective view on bilateral trade, which apparently is not the case anymore. The US, under Trump, is now leaning more on unilateralism and trade protectionism economic ideals.

This current economic situation between the two world powers, Ma further told Xinhua, has ultimately ruined the chance to realize that plan.

In his statement, it appears that Ma is still quite optimistic that the China-US trade spat situation will continue to improve and that Alibaba, among others, will be there to help promote this development.

Escalating Trade War

Despite Ma's positive outlook on the global economic condition, the recent turn of events seems a bit frustrating, not only for the likes of him but for the average consumers as well.

On Monday, the White House finalized a fresh round of tariffs on USD$200 billion worth of Chinese imported goods. The new tax rates will start off at 10 percent when the products arrive in the US. It is expected to increase by 25 percent before this year ends. Aside from this, Trump is also eyeing on another batch of Chinese imports which he threatened to slap with additional duties.

In retaliation, the Xi Jinping administration announced its plans to penalize USD$60 billion worth of US imports, a move which will kick off by next week, Sept. 24.

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