Despite President Trump’s vow to crack down on imports and unfair competition, the U.S. trade deficit jumped 12.1 percent, or $61.2 billion, to $566 billion in 2017, the highest level since the deficit hit $708.7 billion in 2008, the Commerce Department confirmed Tuesday.
Last year, U.S. imports surged to $2.9 trillion, easily eclipsing the $2.3 trillion in U.S. exports.
The U.S. trade deficit with China soared to a record-high $375.2 billion, while trade gaps with Mexico and Canada also increased.
During the election, Trump promised he would put “America First” and wipe out deficits created by what he calls America’s “bad trade deals.”
“Right now, the same trade policy that Trump attacked ferociously and promised to speedily replace is still in place,” said Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
“So far, the administration has not implemented the comprehensive new approach to our China trade policy that is needed,” she said.
Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said he shares Trump’s “disdain for trade deficits,” adding, “I can’t imagine the record goods deficit with China in 2017 is anything he’ll be crowing about.”
“But he can and certainly should do something about it,” Paul said.
The Hill added:
The president has to decide in the next couple months whether he will act on steel and aluminum case reports on his desk that argue for higher tariffs based on national security concerns, a move the U.S. has rarely used because of risks that U.S. exports could be hit with tariffs from other nations in retaliation.
Despite his fiery rhetoric against trade, the Trump administration made few inroads on trade policy outside of slapping higher tariffs on what they consider offending products coming in from nations such as China and Canada.