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

Ma and Trump met in January 2017 to discuss how adding small and medium-sized U.S. businesses to Alibaba's platform would boost employment. "The situation now has completely destroyed our premise, so it can no longer be completed".

Jack Ma, Alibaba co-founder and chairman, said then that China needed to control its "core technology" like chips to avoid over-reliance on U.S. imports. "There is no way to deliver the promise".

The billionaire owner of China's largest online shopping portal made the headline-grabbing promise to Mr Donald Trump past year, as Beijing courted the then-newly elected president.

But in an interview published late Wednesday by China's official news agency, Xinhua, Ma said the waves of new tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing in recent months have undermined the plan.

He claimed US President Donald Trump's escalating tariffs battle with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping has "ruined" his pledge, adding: "But we won't stop working hard to promote the healthy development of Sino-US trade".

"Trade is not a weapon and can not be used for wars", he added, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua news agency. "Trade should be the propeller of peace".

Ma said that the US -initiated trade war is "against China", and also disapproved his country's policies requesting the leaders to open up the market and seize the situation as an opportunity to upgrade. "If China and the United States maintain good economic and trade relations, there will be no problem at all in providing the United States with 1 million jobs or even 10 million jobs", Ma said.

On Thursday, Ma said weakness in the economic outlook is "problematic" for the company. Beijing hit back on Tuesday with levies on $60 billion of United States products.

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. "If you want a short-term solution, there is no solution".

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