The CEO of the Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, said this Monday that “if trade stops, war starts,” as he challenged Donald Trump’s posture regarding anti-globalization measures.
Ma’s warning came while he was in Melbourne during the opening of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Australia/New Zealand headquarters. While he gave his speech, he noted that everybody is concerned about global trading, as the paralyzation of this field could translate into “war.”
Donald Trump has had a very polemic posture regarding trade since the very beginning of his campaign. The “America is first” motto has biased many of their policies as he discards international treaties and focuses on internal productivity.
Among the first actions he took as President, he decided to withdraw the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that former President Barack Obama negotiated for several years with different countries. The TPP has been a target of critics for both Republicans and Democrats, and many experts consider that Trump could make a deal that satisfies both sides of the aisle.
However, for Trump accomplish that, he would have to employ a body of diplomatic strategies that might not represent his strongest side.
According to Ma, an economy that is globalized is not only about transactions.
“We have to actively prove that trade helps people to communicate. And we should have fair trade, transparent trade, inclusive trade,” he said.
He also noted that trade is not only a financial issue, but is also about culture and values.
Trump and Ma had a meeting in January where they discussed workforce and trade policies. Back then, Trump crowed about the fact that Ma offered to produce more than 1 million jobs inside the United States. However, many experts assure that Ma won’t comply his promise, as they think that it was just for the benefit of his public image.
Australia, Trump, and Alibaba
Jack Ma and the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, held what it was described as a “wonderful discussion” regarding trade issues. In the meeting, they talked about Alibaba being able to generate a local e-hub that allows a successful digital commerce without the common border bureaucracy. This meeting was before the opening of the Australian Alibaba headquarters, as Turnbull was not present in the event.
“Most of the free trade zones in the past 20 years are designed for big companies,” Ma said. “If Australia, New Zealand and other countries can create a free trade zone in the form of an e-hub for small businesses, they can work like the big companies – with 24 hours clearance, better tariffs and quicker [border] inspections. That could help a lot of small businesses.”
On the other hand, the talks between the U.S. President and the Australian Prime Minister were not satisfactory. Trump himself defined the call both held as “the worst call by far” and even hang up on the Prime Minister.
It seems like Trump has to get to a settlement with Ma, the second richest man in China, among with other business people if he doesn’t want product prices to go up sky high, experts assure.
Source: Business Insider