US trade deficit falls for 2nd-straight month
Record exports shaved the U.S. trade deficit in April for the second-straight month. But so far this year, the deficit is up 11.5 percent from a year ago despite President Donald Trump’s vow to close the gap through new tariffs on imports and renegotiated trade deals.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the trade deficit dropped to $46.2 billion in April, down from $47.2 billion in March and the lowest since September. Exports edged up 0.3 percent to a record $211.2 billion; imports dipped 0.2 percent to $257.4 billion.
The United States ran a $68.3 billion deficit in the trade of goods. That was partly offset by a $22.1 billion surplus in trade of services such as tourism and banking.
The trade deficit in goods with China widened 8.1 percent to $28 billion in April; the monthly gap with Mexico narrowed 29.8 percent to $5.7 billion.
Trump campaigned on a promise to bring down the U.S. trade deficit – the difference between what America sells foreign countries and what it buys from them.
The president has focused much of his ire on China and Mexico.
He has proposed tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese imports to punish Beijing for forcing American companies to share technology in exchange for access to China’s market. The Chinese have targeted $50 billion in U.S. products in retaliation. Talks to head off a trade war between the world’s two largest economies have so far failed to produce a resolution even though China has offered to step up purchases of U.S. farm and energy products.
Trump is also trying to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico in an effort to shift more investment and auto production to the United States and away from Mexico.