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Globally, the US deficit in trade of goods and services narrowed 0.1% in March from the previous month to $43.71 billion for the second straight month of contraction.
Globally, the US deficit in trade of goods and services narrowed 0.1% in March from the previous month to $43.71 billion for the second straight month of contraction.

US Decries Widening Trade Deficits

So far this year, the trade deficit is up more than 7% to $135.6 billion. For all of last year, the gap exceeded $500 billion

US Decries Widening Trade Deficits

The Trump administration has decried as “alarming’’ big increases in the deficit with Japan, China and Mexico.
The United States cannot continue to run huge trade deficits with major trading partners, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday following the release of data showing the US merchandise trade deficit with Japan hit a nine-year high in March, news outlets reported.
“The United States can no longer sustain this inflated trade deficit with our closest trading partners,” Ross said in a statement. The administration of US President Donald Trump “is committed to rebalancing our trade relationships in order to protect American workers and businesses from lopsided trade relationships,” Ross added.
The Commerce Department said that the gap in goods and services slipped to $43.7 billion, down from $43.8 billion in February. Exports dropped 0.9% to $191 billion, pulled down by falling auto exports. Imports fell 0.7% to $234.7 billion as imports of crude oil and other petroleum products slid.
Trump was elected on a pledge to reduce America’s trade deficits, which he blames on unfair trade practices by China and other countries. The president says trade deficits are responsible for the loss of hundreds of factories and millions of manufacturing jobs.
So far this year, the trade deficit is up more than 7% to $135.6 billion. For all of last year, the gap exceeded $500 billion.
A shrinking trade deficit adds to economic growth. Andrew Hunter, US economist at Capital Economics, says the improving trade picture provided a modest boost to first-quarter US growth and “may end up being a small positive’’ in the second quarter too.

 Alarming Deficits
The US goods trade deficit with Japan widened 55% in March from the previous month to $7.24 billion, partly due to an increase in imports of passenger cars, the Commerce Department said, Kyodo reported.
The trade deficit in goods with China climbed by 7% to $24.6 billion in March from $23 billion in February on rising imports of Chinese cellphones and telecommunications equipment.
Exports slid 0.9% to $191 billion, largely reflecting fewer shipments of pharmaceutical drugs, fuel oil and other petroleum products, and American-made cars. Imports edged down 0.7% to $234.7 billion.
As of last year, China was the country with which the United States generated its largest trade deficit, accounting for about half the total. Japan came second and Germany third.
The US goods trade deficit with Germany increased 18.5% in the reporting month to $5.26 billion, and the deficit with Mexico—which forms the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada—rose 22% to $7.03 billion, according to the department.
Mexico and Japan are both big suppliers to the US of autos and parts, whose imports soared in March. These unadjusted country trade figures are highly volatile, however, and can exhibit sharp ups and downs from month to month.

 Globally Narrow
Globally, the US deficit in trade of goods and services narrowed 0.1% in March from the previous month to $43.71 billion for the second straight month of contraction.
Imports fell 0.7% to $234.69 billion, reflecting a drop in imports of civilian aircraft and computers.
The average import price per barrel of crude oil stood at $46.26 in March, up from $45.25 in February.
The global trade figures are measured on a balance-of-payments basis after seasonal adjustment, and the country-by-country and regional breakdowns are based on unadjusted customs-cleared data.
The Trump administration has made slashing the trade deficit one of its priorities, particularly the large gaps with China and Mexico. Yet these deficits are the byproduct of major economic changes in the US and its trading partners over a long period that won’t be eradicated easily or quickly.
The trade deficit has long been a drag on the official scorecard for the US economy, known as gross domestic product. Yet it’s been relatively stable over the past few years.
On the bright side, an improved global economy is stoking demand for US exports, while Americans buoyed by nearly eight-year-old expansion are more able to afford imports.

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