U.S. Trade Deficit in |March Lowest in Months

     (CN) – The United States’ trade deficit fell in March to the lowest level in 16 months as imports plunged by the largest amount since the depths of the recession seven years ago, the Commerce Department announced Wednesday.
     The trade deficit narrowed to $40.4 billion in March, a drop of 13.9 percent from February, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
     It was the smallest trade gap since November 2014.Exports slipped 0.9 percent to $176.6 billion. Meanwhile, imports declined 3.6 percent to $217.1 billion. It wasthe largest percentage drop since February 2009.
     For March, the politically sensitive deficit with China fell by 25.7 percent to $20.9 billion. Through the first three months of this year, the deficit with China is running 5.4 percent lower than the same period a year ago.
     Despite the decline, America’s trade deficitwith China remained the largest imbalance with any country.
     In a written statement, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the data showed encouraging signs of improvement in the U.S. trade balance through the first quarter of 2016.
     “However, U.S. exporters continue to battle economic headwinds that have hindered trade across the globe,” Pritzker said.
     The secretar said this is why the Obama administration is pushing to forge trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which, she said, ensure that U.S. businesses have greater access to even more fast-growing foreign markets.
     “It is critical that this agreement enters into force as quickly as possible so that U.S. exports can continue to drive economic growth and job creation around the country,” Pritzker said.

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