Chamber of Commerce CEO: U.S. Needs Open Trade Deals

According to Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO and president, Americans are still weighing their options to determine which presidential candidate will be better for business.

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“Trump talks about some important things and energy and taxes and financial areas,” Donohue told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday. “Hillary perhaps has more experience and businessmen like that, but I don’t think that’ll be decided until you hear the speeches next week and hear the first debate, and I think then people will start to move more clearly to where they’re going to vote.”

Donohue, who is in charge of the powerful lobbying group, commented on U.S. economic growth, which he said has increasingly been stunted by government regulations and taxation.

“If we stay with the one, one-and-a-half percent economic growth as the new normal, we’re in trouble,” he said. “We won’t be able to create the jobs we need going forward. We won’t be able to drive the innovation we need.”

Donohue said he also worries by 2026 the U.S. will no longer be able to pay for entitlements.

“You’ve got to reduce this massive explosion of regulations,” he said. “You have to stop attacking and trying to destroy the capital markets that are key to creating jobs in small companies and big companies. You’ve got to face the reality on trade.”

Donohue said 95% of the people American businesses want to sell to live outside of the U.S. He emphasized the importance of using hydrocarbons, oil and gas to drive the economy and change the trajectory of growth.

He also said he remains skeptical about how Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would act as president—especially when it comes to global economic issues.

“The new president is always someone that you have to worry about until you get the beat of what they’re really going to do,” Donohue said.  “It’s when you walk in and sit down in that chair and understand that the phone’s ringing off the hook from all around the world with serious problems and that the economy is in the can, then you have to face a fundamental reality that your decisions coming next week or next year are going to determine whether or not that gets better or gets worse.”

When asked what he thinks U.S. trade should look like, Donohue said it’s time for a policy makeover.

“We’ve had trade deficits all the way back to the beginning of the country because we have been so productive and so innovative and because we are trying always to open markets all around the world,” he said. “We need a trade deal that opens markets for us.”

With the 2016 election quickly approaching and Americans feeling more confused than ever, Donohue told Bartiromo he wants three things to ring true at the Republican and Democratic conventions.

“I want stability, I want people to believe in economic growth, I want people to realize America has a responsibility around the world and we have to exercise it.”