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International trade deficit surges to highest in a decade as imports rise, US exports drop

December 06
10:38 2018

The U.S. trade deficit jumped to a 10-year high in October as soybean exports continued to fall and imports of consumer goods rose to a record high, suggesting the Trump administration’s tariff-related measures to shrink the trade gap likely have been ineffective.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday the trade deficit increased 1.7 percent to $55.5 billion, the highest level since October 2008. The trade gap has now widened for a five straight months. Data for September was revised to show the deficit rising to $54.6 billion instead of the previously reported $54.0 billion.

The politically sensitive goods trade deficit with China surged 7.1 percent to a record $43.1 billion in October.

The United States is locked in a bitter trade war with China. Washington has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to force concessions on a list of demands that would change the terms of trade between the two countries.

China has responded with import tariffs on U.S. goods, including soybeans. President Donald Trump has long railed against China’s trade surplus with the United States, and accuses Beijing of not playing fairly on trade.

In addition to the duties on Chinese goods, Washington has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the United States this year. Last Saturday, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on imposing more tariffs for 90 days while they negotiate a deal to end the trade dispute.

Continue Reading at CNBC

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