Overall Trade Deficit Drops as Gap With China Grows

In this March 5, 2019, photo, cargo containers are staged near cranes at the Port of Tacoma in Tacoma, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(CN) – America’s trade gap with all countries dropped 2.1% in April, but overall exports fell and the deficit with China widened amid a trade war with no end in sight.

The difference between the number of goods and services the U.S. sells and buys from other countries fell to $50.8 billion from a revised $51.9 billion in March.

Imports and exports both dropped by 2.2%, to $257.6 billion and $206.8 billion, respectively.

But the goods deficit with China spiked 29.7% to $26.9 billion in April, as exports to Beijing dropped 24.3% and imports rose 11.6%, according to a Commerce Department report released Thursday.

President Donald Trump has made closing the trade gap with China a top priority, saying the deficit is the result of bad deals by past administrations. 

The year-long trade war with Beijing shows no sign of ending, as the Trump administration last month levied additional tariffs of up to 25% on $200 billion in Chinese products and has threatened to extend the tariffs further.

Trump is also eye targeting Mexican imports, planning to implement a 5% tariff on them next week that could jump to as high as 25% in October if Mexico doesn’t crack down on the flow of immigrants to the U.S. border.

Experts said the overall trade gap will likely persist despite policy changes because it is the result of the fact that Americans buy more than they produce, and imports from other countries are needed to make up for the difference.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of weekly claims for unemployment benefits was unchanged, reflecting a strong jobs market despite worries about an economic slowdown.

The government is set to report Friday on the number of new jobs added in May. Economists predict about 185,000 jobs were added last month.

%d bloggers like this: