U.S. trade deficit rises to 12-year high USD 679 billion

Washington, Feb 5 (AP) The U.S. trade deficit rose 17.7 per cent last year to USD 679 billion, highest since 2008, as the coronavirus disrupted global commerce and confounded President Donald Trump’s attempts to rebalance America’s trade with the rest of the world.
The gap between the value of the goods and services the United States sells abroad and what it buys climbed from USD 577 billion in 2019, the Commerce Department said Friday.
Exports skidded 15.7 per cent to USD 2.1 trillion, and imports fell 9.5 per cent to USD 2.8 trillion.
As president, Trump sought to narrow the gap by imposing taxes on imported goods on a scale unseen since the trade wars of the 1930s.
The deficit narrowed slightly in 2019 but then ballooned last year as coronavirus restrictions hammered U.S. exports of services such as tourism and education. Services exports dropped 20.4 per cent last year.
Still, the U.S. ran a USD 237 billion surplus last year in services. But that was overwhelmed by a USD 916 billion deficit in trade in goods such as aircraft and auto parts.
The politically sensitive deficit with China in the sale of goods fell 10 per cent last year to USD 311 billion; Trump had imposed tariffs on USD 360 billion worth of Chinese imports to protest Beijing’s sharp-elbowed efforts to supplant Western dominance in technology, an effort that U.S. alleged included cybertheft.
In the December, the trade deficit dropped to USD 66.6 billion, down 3.5 per cent from November. Exports rose 3.4 per cent, and imports increased 1.5 per cent. (AP)