Alibaba’s Jack Ma Blasts WTO in Davos, Set to Take World Trade Online

While Alipay is planning to implement Blockchain technology for the long-term benefit of its consumers, Alibaba’s Jack Ma has disclosed his company’s plan to build up an EWTP – an Electronic World Trade Platform – to support young people and small business.

Business designed by businessmen, not bureaucrats

Its idea is to improve on overall globalization which he says has yielded positive results for both China and the world by making more room for small businesses rather than the current system run by the World Trade Organization, hereinafter WTO, which was developed to protect corporate interests.

Ma says at the just-concluded World Economic Forum in Davos:

“Business should be designed by business people, so we believe the EWTP should have businessmen sitting down together, agree on something, negotiate on something, then get the endorsement from the government.”

A success with this project will introduce a new and practical way to conduct business interests across several borders with little or no restriction. Considering that it would be built on the current WTO model, the EWTP will advance pragmatic objectives, cut less the bureaucratic hurdles that often hinder progressive transnational markets as well as the time needed to make crucial decisions.

What’s wrong with WTO agreements?

WTO agreements often spell out the principles of liberalization and the permitted exceptions taking into consideration individual countries’ commitments to lower customs tariffs and other trade barriers to open and keep open services markets.

“The WTO is a very interesting organization”, explains Ma. “When you put 200 government officials in one room, ask them to agree on something – it’s impossible! I can never imagine that they agree on something together.”

Presenting these agreements in an electronic form will fast-track the process and make it more attractive for fast-paced business sectors.

Ways to avoid trade protectionism

In his recent call at Davos for the judicial function of the WTO to be strengthened for an effective response to trade protectionism - the practice of shielding a country's domestic industry from foreign competition by taxing imports. South Korean trade minister Joo Hwang-wan said that dispute settlement procedures in the WTO should be faster and more efficient based on organizational expansion.

With discussions about the practice springing up following the nationalistic stance which was taken by the President of the United States, Donald Trump in his inaugural speech and Hwang-wan also said guidelines should be created for international e-commerce along with standard regulatory practices against technical barriers to trade.


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