Jack Ma: Wars start when trade stops

Fiji Sun - - World News - Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Jack Ma has a warn­ing for those who see glob­al­i­sa­tion as a prob­lem: When trade stops, wars can fol­low. “We should keep on go­ing along the path of glob­al­i­sa­tion,” Ma said last Fri­day in Hangzhou, China. “Glob­al­i­sa­tion is good... when trade stops, war comes.” The ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Alibaba (BABA, Tech30) said he hopes the anti-glob­al­i­sa­tion fer­vour that cur­rently grips much of the world will ease af­ter US elec­tions in Novem­ber. China, in par­tic­u­lar, has been a tar­get of heated rhetoric.

“Ev­ery time there’s an elec­tion, peo­ple start to crit­i­cise China. They crit­i­cise this, they crit­i­cise that,” Mr Ma told CNN’s An­drew Stevens. “[But] how can you stop global trade? How can you build a wall to stop the trade?” G20 lead­ers are pre­par­ing to meet this week­end in Hangzhou, the city where Mr Ma founded his e-com­merce gi­ant in 1999. Trade -- and glob­al­i­sa­tion -- are likely to be ma­jor top­ics of dis­cus­sion.

For his part, the 52-year-old be­lieves that glob­al­i­sa­tion hasn’t gone far enough. He said in­ter­na­tional trade must now be im­proved so that more peo­ple can en­joy its ben­e­fits. Mr Ma is hop­ing to pitch G20 lead­ers on an elec­tronic world trade plat­form, or e-WTP, that would help small busi­nesses ex­pand their cus­tomer base glob­ally, the way multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions have been able to. It would also help elim­i­nate tar­iffs, in­spec­tions and other red tape that can trip up mom and pop shops. “We need so­lu­tions for young peo­ple to lever­age the tech­nol­ogy we have, so they can buy any­where, sell any­where, trade any­where,” he said. “If you want to get in­volved, just join.” The first G20 sum­mit was held in 2008. The an­nual con­fab of the world’s 20 largest economies has a mixed record on pro­duc­ing mean­ing­ful pol­icy re­sults, but Mr Ma said the sum­mit would be a “great op­por­tu­nity” for politi­cians to lis­ten to busi­ness lead­ers. “Ev­ery govern­ment says they love small busi­nesses, but what have they done for them?” Ma asked. “We should pull down all the bar­ri­ers.”

Jack Ma.

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