losangelesnewstoday.com May 24, 2018

US Trade Deficit Rises to $566 Billion, Highest Since 2008

07 February 2018, 01:13 | Katrina Lee

US Trade Deficit in December was the largest in Nine Years

US Trade Deficit Jumped by 12.1% in 2017

According to the fresh figures released by the US Commerce Department on Tuesday, the annual trade deficit in 2017 rose 12.1 percent, or $61.2 billion (€49.5 billion), to reach $566 billion.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement unless the pact linking Canada, Mexico and the United States can be changed to terms more favorable to Washington.

For goods only, the deficit also reached previous year a record level with China to 375.2 billion, which could comfort the USA president in his idea to continue its commercial reprisals against Beijing. Total US exports of goods and services in 2017 rose 5.5 percent to $2.3 trillion, their second highest level on record. Imports set a record $2.9 trillion, swamping exports of $2.3 trillion, according to CTV News Canada. Imports from China and Mexico hit record highs The year 2017 saw the US importing more foreign-made cars, computers, cell phones and other consumer goods, much of which were produced in China. On the campaign, Trump was a vociferous critic of current USA trade practices with China, but since he took office, he shifted his tone because he hopes the Chinese government will help reduce tensions with North Korea. The last time the United States reported a surplus was in 1975. "The same trade policy that Trump attacked ferociously and promised to speedily replace is still in place", Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, told The Hill. Both showed the biggest gains since 2011.

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The December goods-and-services gap was wider than the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg for $52.1 billion. Imports advanced 2.5 percent to $256.5 billion, boosted by record US purchases of consumer goods, capital goods and food products. "Exports increased $121.2 billion or 5.5 percent".

"It was a flat month and not a great handover into 2018".

It would suggest the administration will struggle to bring down the deficit, especially as some $1.5tn in tax cuts work their way through the system, a factor that could be expected to boost domestic demand further.

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