The Trump administration will not be able to achieve the 3% GDP growth it hoped for in 2017, White House Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday, citing economic policies that have yet to be implemented as the reason for the delay.
Ross had expressed confidence last month that the administration would achieve this goal, noting that the policies the White House wanted to implement would be conducive to this growth.
“With all the initiatives that we’re doing — the regulatory reform, the trade reform, the tax reform hopefully — and unleashing energy, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able at least to have that, if not beat it,” he told reporters April 25.
He now says that growth won’t happen, since the majority of those policies haven’t been implemented.
“The Congress has been slow-walking everything,” Ross told Reuters. “We don’t even have half the people in place.”
During his campaign, President Trump promised to increase GDP growth to 4%, a pledge reflected on the White House website.
But the last time GDP grew 4% was nearly two decades ago, when Bill Clinton was President. GDP grew by 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2016, and shrunk to .7% in the first quarter of 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Second-quarter numbers for 2017 will be released on May 26.
Ross also reflected on the administration’s trade policy in his interview with Reuters, explaining that the White House is not trying to restrict trade overall, but only where there is a precedent of other countries violating agreements.
“What we are restricting is trade that violates trade agreements or violates WTO rules. Not much point of having trade agreements if you are not going to enforce them,” Ross said.