Jack Ma, chairman of Chinese tech giant Alibaba, has said the escalating trade war between the US and China could last for 20 years and be a “mess”, after President Donald Trump announced new tariffs overnight.
At a speech to shareholders, he said Chinese businesses would move production to avoid the tariffs and called for stronger trade rules.
“Even if Donald Trump retired, the new president will come, it will still continue…We need new trade rules, we need to upgrade the World Trade Organization," he said.
Ma added: “You may win the battle, but you lose the war.”
Global markets remained relatively calm this morning despite the trade war escalating further amid more tariffs on Chinese goods.
Trump said yesterday he would impose 10 per cent tariffs on around $200bn (£152m) of Chinese imports as of 24 September – and that it could rise to 25 per cent in January.
The FTSE 100 drifted lower at the open but has since gained 14 points – 0.2 per cent – for the day up to 7,316.
The German Dax was also up 35 points – 0.3 per cent – for the day.
Oil prices initially dropped as the escalating tensions led to concerns oil demand growth would lower.
But a warning by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) over threats to supply from Iran and indications that Saudi Arabia would be “comfortable” with higher prices gave oil support.
Brent Crude Oil rose 0.8 per cent to $78.71 per barrel this morning.
Read more: Oil prices break $80 per barrel mark
Chief market analyst at XTB, David Cheetham, said the tariff announcement “didn't come as too much of a shock”.
He said there might also be a feeling that it was a case of “threats and posturing” as opposed to what the Trump administration actually wants.
China reiterated it was prepared to retaliate and foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Trump's latest move had brought “new uncertainty” to talk between the two countries.