New York: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma has met President-elect Donald Trump and pledged to support one million small American firms by selling their products in China and other Asian markets amid Sino-US tensions over trade and Washington’s growing ties with Taiwan.
Ma’s meeting with Trump on Monday in New York is being seen as a back door diplomacy by China to blunt his criticism that Beijing is gaining much from the business ties between the world’s top two economies while Washington is getting a raw deal.
During the meeting, Ma pledged to help one million small- to-medium enterprises in the US to sell products and services to China and Asia through his multi billion dollar e-commerce platforms which would also ensure a million jobs in America, state media here reported.
Besides tensions over Trump’s aggressive comments questioning One China policy, China has outlined dangers of a potential trade confrontation between top two economies of the world after the President-elect appointed China’s bitter critic Peter Navarro to lead the newly created White House National Trade Council.
Speaking with press after meeting Ma, Trump said, “We had a great meeting…and (he’s) a great, great entrepreneur, one of the best in the world.” Trump said that together with Ma, they will do great things for small businesses, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post owned by Ma reported.
Ma said the two shared “ideas about how we can improve trade”. “We talked about supporting one million small businesses to sell on our platform to China and Asia, especially Southeast Asia, where we are pretty big,” Ma said.
He said that in the US mid-west there is a lot of high quality fruit and wine that have great market potential in China.
By helping support small businesses in the US to expand online in China, Alibaba is likely to create an estimated one million jobs in the US, the Post report said, citing recent eMarketer report which stated that Chinese consumers are expected to spend more USD 150 billion on foreign goods by 2020.
Ma’s meeting with Trump signals that Trump, whose tough stance on China has cast dark clouds over China-US trade relations, left a door open for pragmatic cooperation with Chinese companies, Chinese experts said.