BUSINESS
09/20/2018 08:04 am ET

Alibaba Backpedals On Promise To Bring 1 Million Jobs To U.S., Blames Trump Tariff War

Company chairman Jack Ma said the commitment had been predicated on a “friendly U.S.-China partnership."

Chinese tech giant Alibaba will no longer bring the 1 million jobs it had promised to the U.S. because the hostile trade environment created by President Donald Trump and his ongoing tariff conflict with China has made such a plan impossible, the company’s co-founder and chairman Jack Ma announced this week. 

In a Xinhua News Agency interview published Tuesday, the billionaire business magnate said the jobs promise — originally floated early last year — had been predicated on a “friendly U.S.-China partnership and the rational and objective premise of bilateral trade.”

“[The] current situation has already destroyed the original premise,” Ma said. “There is no way to deliver the promise.”

Ma had told Trump during a meeting in January 2017 that Alibaba, one of the world’s largest and most valuable companies, planned to create a million jobs in the U.S. within five years by getting American small businesses to sell on its platforms. Details of the plan, however, were never fully articulated and experts had expressed skepticism that such a lofty promise could even be fulfilled.

Ma, who recently announced his impending retirement from Alibaba, has been vocal in his condemnation of the escalating trade conflict between the U.S. and China.

He warned at an investor conference in Shanghai on Tuesday that the clash would lead to “a mess” for all parties involved, Reuters reported.

The day before, Trump had slapped a 10 percent tariff on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and threatened to impose duties on an additional $267 billion. China promptly reacted, announcing new trade tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods.

Ma told Xinhua he believes trade should never be used as a “weapon.”

“It can’t be used for war, it should be used to bring about peace,” he said.

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