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Chamber of Commerce CEO Says Recession Unlikely This Year

Thomas Donohue, chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that a recession is unlikely this year.

He said consumer spending is up, the housing market appears to have bottomed out and exports are growing.

“I think we’re going to (have economic growth) between 2% and 2.5%,” Donohue said Wednesday. “I don’t think we’ll hit a recession. I think the Fed will be helpful.”

Donohue said most homeowners still have “lots of equity in their homes” and call sell at a profit. He sees pain for some in the housing market, especially the sub-prime sector, but no panic.

“We’ve got a greater number of people in the housing market and I’m optimistic,” he said.

Donohue said he plans to visit China soon to discuss trade.

“Our exports to China are up more than 30% last year,” Donohue said. “I think we’re making great progress. Our message to China is: You’ve got to keep doing everything you promised to do under the WTO and we are making progress. You’ve got to be very aggressive in helping us open markets for American companies – 75% of the companies doing business in China are already making money and you’ve got to stop stealing our stuff.”

He said U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson “is doing a very good job” in presenting American trade issues to the Chinese.

“I think the Chinese know they have to keep moving in the right direction to keep Congress on the right track,” Donohue said.

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