WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warned on Wednesday that withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the Trump administration would be a "grave mistake."
"The American economy has taken several big steps forward with regulatory relief and tax reform, and the administration deserves lots of credit. But a wrong move on NAFTA would send us five steps back," Donohue said in his annual State of American Business speech.
Donohue said the U.S. Chamber supports the effort to modernize the 24-year-old trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which should "account for the gains of North America's energy revolution and add rules for digital trade."
However, the modernization of the trade agreement "should not close markets, undermine investment protections, or limit trade with regulatory red tape," he argued.
"The bottom line is that growth will be weakened, not strengthened or sustained, if we pull back from trade," he said.
Donohue's warning comes before the sixth round of NAFTA negotiations to be held in Montreal, Canada later this month.
U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the NAFTA if the United States doesn't get bigger benefits from the pact.