The Latest: Powell Says Generally Lower Tariffs Boost Growth

Associated Press |

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's semi-annual testimony to Congress on Tuesday (all times local):

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell did not specifically answer a question about what might happen to the U.S. economy in a trade war with tariffs rising.

Although he stressed that he was not commenting on the current get-tough trade policy being pushed by President Donald Trump, Powell did say that history indicates higher tariffs harm growth while lower tariffs support growth.

"In principal, countries who remain open to trade have grown faster with higher incomes," Powell said, adding that countries that have raised tariffs in protectionist moves have fared worse.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is giving lawmakers an upbeat assessment of the economy and expects to keep raising interest rates gradually. He says solid job gains and strong economic growth has enabled the Fed to dial back the "extra boost" it implemented during the financial crisis and recession.

In his semi-annual testimony to Congress, Powell says that the Fed's process for slowly raising interest rates has been "running smoothly." He says the Fed expects the job market to remain strong and inflation to stay near 2 percent over the next several years.

Among the uncertainties that could alter his forecast, Powell says that it is "difficult to predict the ultimate outcome of current discussions over trade policy."

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