Trump-Ma meeting suggests US willing to negotiate: China Daily

President-elect Donald Trump (left) talks to reporters after emerging from a meeting with Jack Ma, at Trump Tower.
President-elect Donald Trump (left) talks to reporters after emerging from a meeting with Jack Ma, at Trump Tower.PHOTO: NYTIMES

In its editorial on Jan 11, the paper says that the meeting between US President-elect Donald Trump and Mr Jack Ma, leader of the e-commerce giant Alibaba, suggests that Mr Trump will not "shut the door on the US market" despite his protectionist stance.

Many business people outside the United States have been worried about the potential havoc the incoming administration in the United States may cause to global trade and the possibility of souring relations with the world's second-largest economy, given some of the comments made by Donald Trump and his team members during and after his presidential election campaign.

Trump's meeting with Jack Ma, leader of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, on Monday may help to reassure them that his administration will not shut the door on the US market and is willing to work with businesspeople around the world.

The two men had a "great meeting", according to Trump, and Ma promised he will use his hugely successful multi-portal e-commerce platform, the largest in China and one of the largest in the world, to create jobs in the US by helping small and medium-sized businesses and farmers sell their products and services in China and Asia.

It is obvious that, for companies in the US as well as elsewhere, the largest group of new middle-class consumers will be in Asia. Therefore, cutting business ties with China, let alone an all-round trade war, will also hurt the US' own interests and Trump's plan to create 25 million new jobs.

From the Trump-Ma meeting, and the president-elect's previous meetings with some other business leaders, it seems that he is willing to adopt a less belligerent and more flexible approach than some of his remarks might suggest, and "everything is negotiable" so long as there is a benefit to the US.

Now, at least in part, on the business-to-business level, he seems to be willing to allow more businesses, both US and foreign, to join his economic program.

As his meeting with Ma shows that should not be difficult.

Chinese businesspeople understand, as shown by Ma, that contrary to the allegations made by the heirs of the zero-sum mindset of the Cold War warriors, businesses can only prosper by adopting a quid pro quo approach of "I make money, you make money".

Nor should people rigidly interpret jobs to mean full-time corporate jobs, as have some who ridiculed the Trump-Ma meeting. To help the US' small businesses and farmers sell their diverse products to the huge Asian market is a way to help its overall economy and, in due course, to help it create and sustain jobs. This should really be self-evident.

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