The US trade deficit expanded in December 2017


The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the trade gap increased 5.3 percent to $53.1 billion. Overall, the goods trade balance continues to be in deficit, while the surplus in services trade dropped slightly in December to Dollars 20.2 billion. To achieve this, he has threatened to cancel trade agreements such as the TPP (Trans-Pacitic Partnership) with Pacific Rim countries and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.

On Tuesday, U.S. Commerce Department has reported the monthly trade deficit for December 2017, which is the largest since the recession. The trade gap with China, a country Trump criticized repeatedly on the campaign trail for its unfair trade practices, surged to a record-breaking $375 billion. Total US exports of goods and services in 2017 rose 5.5 percent to $2.3 trillion, their second highest level on record.

At the same time, the latest trade figures also reflect the rising value of commodity imports due to higher commodity prices.

The U.S. imported numerous foreign-made goods in 2017, many of which were produced in China. On the campaign, Trump was a vociferous critic of current USA trade practices with China, but since he took office, he shifted his tone because he hopes the Chinese government will help reduce tensions with North Korea.

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The jump in the so-called real trade deficit at the end of the year puts trade on course to be a drag on gross domestic product in the first quarter. "Looking ahead, we expect the trade deficit to widen further in 2018", said Gregory Daco, chief USA economist at Oxford Economics.

The commodity trade with China increased by 8.1% previous year to a record 375.2 billion Dollars.

"Right now, the same trade policy that Trump attacked ferociously and promised to speedily replace is still in place", said Lori Wallach, director and founder of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.

In 2017, imports of beverages and food (137.8 billion), capital goods (640.6 billion), accessories and vehicle parts (359 billion) and consumer goods (602,2 billion) have all reached record levels, notes the Commerce Department.