US Trade Deficit Rises 1.9 Percent As Imports Set New Record | News on the coronavirus pandemic

U.S. merchandise imports hit a record high in January, rising to $ 68.2 billion from $ 67 billion in December, the U.S. Department of Commerce said.

Merchandise imports to the United States broke a record in January and pushed the trade deficit up 1.9% as the coronavirus pandemic distorted global trade.

The gap between the goods and services sold by the United States and what it bought abroad has grown to $ 68.2 billion, from $ 67 billion in December, the U.S. Department of Justice reported on Friday. Trade. Exports rose 1% to $ 191.9 billion, while imports rose 1.2% to $ 260.2 billion.

Imports of goods rose $ 3.4 billion to a record $ 221.1 billion in January, leading pharmaceuticals, which rose $ 5 billion, or 39%, to 17.4 billions of dollars. Imports of services fell by around 1 percent.

U.S. exports of goods rose $ 2.1 billion to $ 135.7 billion in January, while exports of services, such as transportation and travel, fell by $ 0.3 billion. dollars to $ 56.3 billion.

The politically sensitive trade gap with China narrowed 3.2% to $ 27.2 billion. The trade deficit with Mexico increased by $ 1.6 billion to reach $ 11.9 billion in January.

The coronavirus has disrupted trade in services such as education and travel, sectors of the economy in which the United States maintains persistent surpluses. Measured in dollars, monthly U.S. services exports have fallen by nearly a quarter since the virus outbreak about a year ago.

Year over year, the goods and services deficit climbed to $ 23.8 billion, or 53.7%, as of January 2020.

Last month, the Commerce Department reported that in 2020, the U.S. trade deficit increased 18.1 percent to $ 682 billion, the highest since 2008, as the coronavirus wreaked havoc on trade global and thwarted attempts by then President Donald Trump to rebalance U.S. trade with the rest of the country. the world.

Friday’s January trade data release is the latest to include the period covering the Trump administration, which sparked a trade war with China and imposed steel and other tariffs on US allies, which turned seven decades of American politics upside down.

President Joe Biden and his team have so far circumvented Trump’s tough trade policy. Biden has not called off Trump’s trade war with China or suggested reducing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Biden’s choice for his administration’s chief trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, vowed to ensure that US trade policy benefits American workers, not just businesses, and to engage more with American allies to counter a China more and more assertive.

Tai is waiting to be confirmed by the full Senate. Fluent in Mandarin, she spent several years as head of the US Trade Representative’s office responsible for law enforcement in China.

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