Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma today issued a plea to the White House, urging President Trump to avoid a trade policy Ma believes will hurt U.S. small businesses. Since going public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, one of Alibaba’s priorities has been focused on helping American small businesses export their products and services to China. Appearing in the Wall Street Journal, Ma’s opinion essay echoed similar points made by U.S. retailer and agriculture trade groups.

“At the heart of Alibaba’s mission – to make it easy to do business anywhere – is our support for small businesses. A vibrant small-business sector is good for any economy because small businesses create jobs,” Ma wrote. “This trade war will hurt millions of American small businesses and farmers.”

Ma, who hosted a trade show for U.S. small businesses in Detroit last June, said, “I feel for these men and women, because I met many of them when I toured the U.S. last year to host our “Gateway” trade showcase in Detroit.

“Small-business owners and farmers traveled from all over the country to learn how Alibaba could connect them to the massive Chinese consumer market. Those attending Gateway saw what the future could hold for their business. I saw the entrepreneurial gleam in their eyes.

“The U.S. has been a consistent defender of free and open markets, but this time it is resorting to protectionism that will not improve American competitiveness. 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.”


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