U.S. trade deficit hits record high
March 8, 2019 -- The U.S. trade deficit soared in 2018 to a 10-year high of $621 billion, despite President Donald Trump’s pledges to reduce it. The gap on goods and services has increased by $119 billion during Trump’s two years as president.
The Commerce Department reported that the gap between what the U.S. sells and what it buys from other countries jumped nearly 19% to $59.8 billion in December. That’s up from $50.3 billion in November.
The country’s surplus on services rose to $270 billion, from $255 billion in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the goods gap hit a record $891 billion, up from $807 in 2017, despite the imposition of tariffs on imports from China and on steel and aluminium from a range of countries.
During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to eliminate both the trade and budget deficits, saying that imposing tariffs and renegotiating “disastrous” trade agreements would make the U.S. a net exporting nation.
The last time a U.S. president boasted a trade surplus was under the Republican administration of Gerald Ford in 1975 when U.S. exports exceeded imports by $12.4 billion.