US trade deficit falls in 2019

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Washington

The US trade deficit fell last year to $616.8 billion, the first time the gap has narrowed since 2013 as imports, particularly from China, declined more than exports, according to government data released. As President Donald Trump’s trade confrontations escalated in 2019, the total trade gap shrunk by nearly $10 billion as exports fell by 0.1 percent and imports dropped 0.4 percent, the Commerce Department reported. Excluding services, the US deficit in goods fell by nearly $20 billion to $866 billion last year, as imports of Chinese products hit by Trump’s punitive tariffs dropped 17.6 percent, according to the report. That decline was offset by big increases in imports from top US trading partners Canada, which surged 42 percent, and Mexico, which jumped 26 percent. The narrowing of the US trade gap comes after a year when the deficit reached its highest level in a decade.—APP