The Trade Deficit Is Up Under Trump
After increasing in 2017 compared to 2016, newly released trade data from the first quarter of 2018 shows that the U.S. trade deficit has continued its upward climb during the second year of the Trump administration despite the president's campaign pledges to reduce the deficit.
The 2018 first-quarter goods trade deficit with China is the largest ever recorded at $91.1 billion, up from $80.7 billion for the same period in 2017. The goods trade deficit with the world of $196.7 billion is larger than any period since before the 2008 financial crisis – up 8.5 percent over the first quarter of 2017 deficit of $181.4 billion. The first-quarter goods trade deficit with Mexico is the largest ever recorded at $33.3 billion, up from $30.6 billion for the same period last year. After improving from 2011 to 2016, but worsening in 2017, the NAFTA first-quarter 2018 goods deficit is up slightly relative to the first quarter of 2017 – an increase from $49.1 billion to $49.6 billion.
The China trade deficit continued its upward trajectory in 2018, after increasing in 2017.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deficit (excluding re-exports) has grown during the first year of the Trump administration and start of the second year after seeing a progressive decline from 2011 to 2016.