A slowdown in U.S. growth last year was at least partly the fault of President Donald Trump’s global trade battles and the resulting hit to business investment, the administration’s top economist said on Thursday in an outlook for the coming years.
“Once we got renegotiation of trade agreements, we saw uncertainty in the market, and investment took a hit,” Tomas Philipson, acting chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a briefing with reporters about the CEA’s annual Economic Report of the President.
Trump has blamed the Fed as the economy slowed from a 2.9% annualized growth rate in 2018 to 2.3% last year, and the central bank did trim rates three times to boost the economy.
But policymakers cited trade-related risks as a chief reason for the rate cuts. Philipson agreed with Trump that it was necessary to confront China on trade but said it did cause short-term disruption.