WASHINGTON — President Trump campaigned on a promise to overturn U.S. trade policy and bring down the country’s massive, persistent trade deficits.
After a year in the White House, he still has a lot of work to do.
The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services rose 12 percent to $566 billion last year, biggest since 2008. A record $2.9 trillion in imports swamped $2.3 trillion in exports last year.
The deficit in the goods trade with China – frequently accused of unfair trading practices Trump – hit a record $375.2 billion in 2017. The goods gap with Mexico climbed to $71.1 billion.
“Trump’s trade team has not been able to stem the flood of imports into the country yet,” said Chris Rupkey, economist at MUFG Union Bank.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the trade deficit “ultimately will be reduced” by a combination of new or renegotiated trade pacts and a crackdown on abusive foreign trade practices.