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Alibaba's Jack Ma: Don't Turn Trade Into a Weapon

Alibaba's Jack Ma: Don't Turn Trade Into a Weapon

By    |   Wednesday, 24 January 2018 11:48 AM

Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, took a verbal swipe at the Trump administration while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"Don't use trade as the weapon, use trade as the solution to solve the problems," Ma said at a panel on the future of e-commerce, according to CNBC. "Globalization is a growing pain. It is so easy to launch a trade war but it is so difficult to stop a trade war and I'm scared and concerned."

Ma spoke two days after the U.S. slapped heavy duties on imported solar equipment and washing machines, following the International Trade Commission's recommendations last month. China and South Korea condemned the levies, with Seoul set to complain next month to the World Trade Organization about the "excessive" and “regrettable” move.

Ma said starting a trade war is easy but it can lead to long-term damage for economies. He also once said war starts when trade stops, CNBC reported. China's exports to the U.S. surged 15 percent last year, pushing the Asian country's trade surplus with the U.S. to a new record.

The Trump administration last week said China and Russia have shown no intention of living up to WTO rules and Washington shouldn't have supported their membership in the global trade group.

"The global trading system is threatened by major economies who do not intend to open their markets to trade and participate fairly," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in reports to Congress. The reports included grievances over allegedly unfair trade practices by Beijing and Moscow.

Trump today will travel to Davos, where he is expected to re-assert the “America First” goals of his presidential campaign. He ran on a pro-business platform of cutting taxes and regulations to boost job growth and revive America’s withering middle class.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. was ready to be more aggressive about trade disputes.

"There have always been trade wars. The difference now is U.S. troops are now coming to the ramparts," he said at a press conference in Davos.

Technological Disruption

Meanwhile, the global economy will see growing disruption from technologies like artificial intelligence that makes machines smarter and more perceptive about their environments.

"The AI and robots are going to kill a lot of jobs because in the future it'll be done by machines," Ma said. "The first technology revolution caused the First World War and the second technology revolution caused the Second World War — and now we have the third."

He said he hoped the next world war will be "against disease, pollution and poverty, not a war against ourselves."

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Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, took a verbal swipe at the Trump administration while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
jack ma, alibaba, wef, davos
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2018-48-24
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 11:48 AM
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