U.S. President Donald Trump's move to chuck the trade rulebook for a maverick style has been "a step back" for global commerce, said Steve Okun, vice chairman for the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce.
"[For] the four presidents preceding Donald Trump, we had a focus on a multi-lateral system that was rules based, and that evolved over time and it went from FTAs (free-trade agreements) and WTO (World Trade Organization) and up to the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership)," Okun told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Friday.
"The Trump administration seems to be shifting that from a multilateral to a bilateral and from a rules-based to a transactional," Okun said. "It is certainly a step back."
As an example, Okun cited Trump's indication that China's help with North Korea would lead to changes to any bilateral investment treaties or trying to use foreign policy over the THAAD missile defense system to pressure South Korea on trade.
Okun compared bilateral trade deals to a spaghetti bowl in their complexity.
"The U.S. has 14 different FTAs right now. The U.S.-Singapore FTA has slightly different provisions than the U.S-Korea FTA, which has slightly different provisions than the U.S.-Australia FTA, but that doesn't include countries like Malaysia and Vietnam," he said.