Alibaba will no longer bring 1 million jobs to the US, citing tariffs

By Shannon Liao

Jack Ma (center) arriving at Trump Tower last year, where he made the promise to bring one million jobs to the US.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Alibaba’s founder and chairman Jack Ma says the Chinese mega e-commerce company no longer has plans to create 1 million jobs in the US, citing the ongoing trade conflict as the reason Alibaba is retracting its promise to Donald Trump. A new round of tariffs between the US and China will make mutual trade more difficult.

Ma told Chinese state-run news outlet Xinhua today that his promise was based on the assumption that the US and China would have “rational trade relations,” which is no longer the case. “This promise was based on friendly US-China partnership and rational trade relations,” Ma said. “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.” Last week, Ma announced his plans to retire this year and hand over the company to its current CEO. He denied rumors that he was being forced out.

The initial promise was made in January last year, right before Trump’s inauguration. At the time, reports of Ma’s bold claim were already skeptical, given the lack of specifics.

After failing to reach a deal with China on trade conditions, the US finalized a new round of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imported goods on Monday. The new tariffs impose a 10 percent tax when goods first arrive in the US that rises to 25 percent by the end of the year. The tariffs affect nearly every US company doing business with China.

On Tuesday, Ma called the trade situation a mess that could have consequences that last for decades. Today, Ma said trade should be used for peace, not for war. “I want to say that trade between the two countries — trade in the world — really needs to be improved upon, but trade isn’t a weapon, it can’t be used for war, it should be used to bring about peace.”