Amidst a trade dispute between the US and China, Alibaba co-founder and Chairman Jack Ma said in an online statement Wednesday that a trade war would kill "jobs, opportunity and hope" for small business and farmers in the US.
"The US has been a consistent defender of free and open markets, but this time it is resorting to protectionism that will not improve American competitiveness," Ma said. "Any country seeking to increase exports would do better to focus on developing good products and channels to access foreign markets rather than putting up trade barriers."
Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce giant that more than 500 million Chinese customers use as China shifts its economy from the world's largest exporter to the world's largest consumer, Ma said.
"It is therefore ironic that the US administration is waging a trade war at a time when the largest potential consumer market in the world is open for business," he said. "Is America going to forfeit this opportunity?"
President Donald Trump has recently asked US trade representatives to consider additional tariffs against China. This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged in a speech to lower trade barriers in China.