Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, said on Tuesday that Chinese and U.S. business leaders should join force to set for broader cooperation between the world's two-largest economies in the future rather than focusing on "the problems of the past."
"We will certainly discuss today our individual company's priorities and outcomes, we must also seize the opportunity as a group to set out a vision for broader cooperation," Ma said in opening remarks at the first China-U.S. Business Leaders Summit.
"Our relationship today reflects a deep business partnership where capital, people, and ideas are fully integrated. In the future, I believe we will not talk about products being made in your country or mine, but rather on the internet," Ma told a group of prominent Chinese and U.S. CEOs, urging them to "see the big vision" of China-U.S. relations and "seize the future."
"We're here to solve future problems, not to solve yesterday's problems. We should not punish our tomorrow because of yesterday's problems," he said, adding the Chinese and U.S. business leaders should not "let problems of the past limit our future potential."
The business leaders should also offer "constructive advice" for the U.S. and Chinese governments with wisdom and professionalism, encouraging them to use existing mechanisms to resolve their disputes "respectfully and efficiently," Ma noted.
"As in all deep and complex economic relationships, disputes whether on trade or investment are natural and expected," he said.
The inaugural China-U.S. Business Leaders Summit, composed of around 20 prominent CEOs of the two countries, was one of the two proposals that Ma put forward in a meeting with the then President-elect Donald Trump in January. It aims to promote health development of China-U.S. economic relations, according to Ma.
The other was to hold a small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) summit, which took place in the U.S. city of Detroit last month, in a bid to help small U.S. businesses sell products to China through e-commerce platform.
Eyeing a growing middle class in Asia, Ma is confident that Alibaba will be able to create 1 million jobs in the United States in the next five years by helping 1 million small U.S. businesses sell their products to China and Southeast Asia.
The business leaders summit comes one day before the first round of China-U.S. Comprehensive Economic Dialogue in Washington D.C., one of the four major dialogue mechanisms the two sides established in April.
During the upcoming dialogue to be co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the two sides will exchange views on economic and trade issues of common concern.