Cautioning businesses in China to be ready for a long drawn trade war with US, Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma said the dispute could drag for 20 years, extending far beyond the presidency of Donald Trump. Conway G. Gittens reports. "There is no way to complete the promise now, but we won't stop working hard to promote the healthy development of China-US trade", said Ma.
In August 2017, Mr Trump ordered an investigation of Chinese trade practices, accusing the country of unfair treatment of United States companies.
"It's going to be long-lasting, it's going to be a mess, maybe 20 years", Ma said.
While Ma had not detailed how he would add those jobs, he has said that he wanted to encourage American small businesses to sell on Alibaba marketplace Tmall and Taobao, reasoning that every new business that joined the platform would have to hire a person to manage the extra sales.
But the Alibaba chairman and former CEO did concede that China needed to do more to open its economy and called on Party leaders to view the current situation not as a crisis but as an opportunity to "upgrade" economic policies.
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China added $60 billion of US products to its import tariff list on Tuesday to hit back at USA duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods that go into effect from September 24.
"Trade is not a weapon and can not be used for wars", he added.
This week Trump said he would press ahead with 10 percent levies on $200 billion of imports - on top of $50 billion already targeted - prompting Beijing to target another $60 billion of USA goods with five to 10 percent taxes.
According to official figures, United States goods and services trade with China totalled an estimated $710.4 billion in 2017 of which USA exports were $187.5 billion and imports were $522.9 billion.
"You may win the battle, but you lose the war", Ma said, adding: "Middle term, a lot of Chinese business will move to other countries".