Jack Ma (3rd right), executive chairman of Alibaba Group, makes a speech during the US-China Business Leaders Summit on Tuesday at the US Commerce Department in Washington.
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has called on a group of prominent business leaders in Washington to help "solve trade issues".
The online entrepreneur led a party of 10 leading Chinese business figures at the augural U.S.-China Business Leaders Summit on Tuesday.
Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group LP, was part of a group of 10 United States-based business high-fliers at the gathering.
"As entrepreneurs, we should utilize our wisdom and capacity to solve trade issues, rather than create trouble," Ma said. "We're here to solve the problems of the future, not the problems of yesterday."
Both sides agreed that as business leaders, they have critical interests in, and a responsibility to promote, a steady and positive economic relationship between China and the U.S..
They also agreed to establish an annual dialogue to offer both governments solutions to pressing challenges in their economic relationship, according to a joint statement released after the summit.
The first meeting was marked by "constructive and positive" dialogue, it said.
Ma first proposed the summit to U.S. President Donald Trump in January, with the purpose of encouraging business leaders from China and the U.S. to get involved more actively in the development of China-U.S. economic relations.
"The economic dialogue between China and the U.S. should have a good vision that helps to solve problems rather than fight with each other," Ma told the summit.
Earlier this week, Trump celebrated products made in the United States, which was part of his "America First" campaign pledge before he was elected.
"We want to build, create and grow more products in our country using American labor, American goods and American grit," Trump said on Monday.
Ma tried to put that into perspective when he spoke to Chinese and U.S. businessman.
He told them that he felt "President Trump does listen" and pointed out that the "world is all connected".
"China is the best market for commodities that are made in America," Ma said.
"In the future, there will be less and less 'Made in China' or 'Made in America'. There will be 'Made in internet'," he added. "Everything in the world is connected. We call it e-commerce today; we'll call it e-business in the future."
Ma stressed that globalization could not be stopped.
"The good thing is that I think President Trump listens," he said. "Initially, President Trump and I had different viewpoints.
"After I talked with him, he thought what I said made sense," Ma added. "Then I found out he did change and now follows a path that leads to a better way."