Trade war with China would ‘kill a lot of jobs’ in US, says Alibaba co-founder

Trade tensions have been rising between the world’s two largest economies, as US President Donald Trump seeks to reduce trade deficit with China 

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 10:31am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 11:47pm

A trade war between the US and China would destroy jobs in America at a time when Chinese consumers are looking to buy goods from the country, according to Alibaba Group vice-chairman and co-founder Joseph Tsai. 

Trade conflict would come at an “ironic time”, given demand for goods and services from the growing number of Chinese consumers, Tsai said in interviews with CNBC and Bloomberg Television at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California.

“This will actually kill a lot of jobs in America if there’s a trade war because the tit-for-tat trade tactics really will cause a retaliation,” he told Bloomberg.

“If because of the trade war they put the gates down, because of retaliation, this is going to hurt everybody and it’s going to close off a lot of opportunities for producers in the United States.”

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Trade tensions have been rising between the world’s two largest economies, as US President Donald Trump sought to reduce the country’s trade deficit with China.

The US slapped tariffs on steel imports and China retaliated with duties on imports including soybeans.

American officials are also alarmed by China’s state-backed efforts to boost the country’s capabilities in advanced technologies and manufacturing, from electric cars to artificial intelligence.

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Officials from both sides will hold trade talks in China later this week. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business Network that US officials planned to raise intellectual property rights, joint technology and joint ventures with Chinese officials.

Alibaba, the biggest e-commerce company in China, has been stepping up its overseas expansion in recent years.

The company put one of its top executives, Lucy Peng Lei, in charge of Lazada Group, the Southeast Asia-based online commerce operator that it acquired control of in 2016.

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“Right now we’re very focused on some of the markets that we’re in, in China, and also in Southeast Asia. We think that there are tons of opportunities in Southeast Asia where there are 600 million consumers that we can tap into,” Tsai told Bloomberg. 

Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post .