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Speaking to Chinese publication Xinhua, Ma said his promise to create the jobs was made under the assumption that the US and China would continue to have a friendly partnership and “rational trade relations.”
“The current situation has already ruined that. There is no way to complete the promise now, but we won’t stop working hard to promote the healthy development of China-US trade,” said Ma.
Ma first announced plans to create the US jobs during a meeting with Donald Trump in January 2017, before Trump’s inauguration. Ma said Alibaba could create "1 million jobs over the next five years by enabling 1 million American small businesses and farmers to sell U.S. goods to China and Asian consumers on the Alibaba platform." But many analysts were skeptical.
On Monday, the Trump administration expanded tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese imported goods. The 10 percent tariff is to be implemented by September 24, which will increase to 25 percent by the end of the year. On Tuesday, China hit back with tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods.
Ma, who is set to retire as Alibaba chairman next year, said he expects the trade conflict to drag on for decades. “It’s going to last a long time, maybe 20 years. It’s going to be a mess. It’s not a trade war, it’s about competition between two countries.”