US Trade Deficit Soars To Nine-Year High During Trump’s First Year

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The U.S. trade deficit in 2017 was the highest its been since 2008, despite President Donald Trump’s repeated promises to reduce the size of the deficit.

The trade deficit grew by 12.1 percent in 2017, soaring to $566 billion, the highest since the deficit hit $708.7 billion in 2008, the Department of Commerce revealed Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

The trade gap widened in December, growing 5.3 percent to $53.1 billion.

The U.S. imported numerous foreign-made goods in 2017, many of which were produced in China. The trade gap with China, a country Trump criticized repeatedly on the campaign trail for its unfair trade practices, surged to a record-breaking $375 billion.

Imports from Mexico also hit a new record high.


The expanding deficit is partially tied to the booming economy, explains Market Watch. Greater prosperity tends to result in increased consumer spending, often on foreign imports.

Others attribute the growth to a failure on the part of the administration to make major changes to America’s trade policy. “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. “The administration has not implemented the comprehensive new approach to our China trade policy that is needed.”

Trump has already placed tariffs on solar panels and washing machines in a shot across the bow at China and others, and he is expected to make a decision on imports of steel and aluminum in the next few months. Furthermore, the Trump administration has torpedoed certain deals involving Chinese companies to protect national security.

Some observers suspect that the president’s actions could trigger a trade war, and China has warned that it has the ability to target American economic assets.

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