Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, the second richest man in China, has a warning for President Trump’s hard-line anti-globalization approach, and it is war.
Ma, who was in Australia to celebrate the opening of their Australia/ New Zealand headquarters, said, “Everybody is concerned about trade wars. If trade stops, war starts.”
Alibaba CEO: trade helps people to communicate
“Worry doesn’t solve the problem,” Ma added, according to Business Insider Australia. “The only thing you can do is get involved and actively prove that trade helps people to communicate. We should have fair, transparent and inclusive trade.”
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Ma also had a word with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and they had wonderful discussion, according to Ma. According to Business Insider, the two indulged into a conversation over “regional e-hub-a trade zone that would allow for free online commerce with less border bureaucracy to deal with.”
Trump, on the other hand, also had a conversation with Turnbull this week, which, according to him, was the “worst call by far.” He ended by hanging on the Australian Prime Minister, and, that was not the only problem. White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeatedly mispronounced Turnbull’s name as “Trumbull.”
What the Trump administration needs
Trump has long made it clear that he will not shy away from dismantling U.S. trade policies if they get in the way of his “America first” nationalism policy. Shortly after being sworn in as President, Trump worked on withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Deal that previous President Barack Obama spent so many years negotiating, notes Gizmodo.
Both Democrats and Republicans criticized the TPP during the presidential campaign. With proper planning and a coalition, the Trump administration may come up with a solution which will be feasible for both sides. However, that will need a lot of diplomacy, concessions and thoughtful strategy–something that the Trump team does not agree with, says Gizmodo.
In January when Trump and Alibaba’s CEO met, Trump was happy that the China-based online retailer has the capability to bring a million jobs to the United States. Critics, however, were skeptical and said that Ma will not follow through on what he said, as just like Trump, he is aware of good PR opportunities.
If Trump wants to keep a check on the prices of consumer electronics and other imported goods that might skyrocket, he will have to go beyond PR and focus on complicated polices.