Trade deficit hits highest in 12 years despite Trump promises to eliminate it


Donald Trump promised during the 2016 election campaign that, if elected president, he would lead to a rapid and unprecedented drop in the US trade deficit.But new figures released by the Commerce Department on Thursday – almost four years after Trump won the 2016 presidential election – show the trade deficit peaked 12 years in July largely due to a sharp increase in imports, bringing the total negative trade balance in the first seven months of 2020 to $ 340 billion.

“Trump is committed to eliminating the trade deficit and ending the outsourcing of jobs, but the overall 2020 deficit is on track to be larger than when he took office, and his Department of Labor has certified that over 300,000 US jobs were lost to outsourcing and imports during his presidency. Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch at Public Citizen, said in a statement.

Wallach noted that the number of 300,000 job losses is likely an underestimate given that it only “reflects the number of workers whose trade-related job losses have been approved for retraining. ‘Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and other benefits. ”

“The July 2020 deficit is the largest monthly deficit since July 2008, during the global financial crisis and associated recession,” Wallach said. “The surprisingly large growth in the trade deficit is particularly notable given that trade flows have globally declined due to the global Covid-19 crisis. ”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden – whom Trump has criticized for his support for the jobs-killing North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s and the Trans-Pacific Partnership now dead under the Obama administration – pointed out the surging trade deficit on Twitter, writing that “American workers can’t afford another four years of his failed leadership. ”

“In 2016, President Trump promised to reduce the trade deficit and said, ‘You’ll see a drop like you’ve never seen it before,” ”Biden tweeted. ” Reality? This is the highest for 12 years. ”

Seth Hanlon, senior researcher at the Center for American Progress, echoed Biden, writing that the new deficit figures reveal the futility of Trump’s lofty campaign promises.

“Trump is a fraud, show a billion,” Hanlon tweeted.

As the Associated press reported Thursday, new Commerce Department statistics show that “despite a number of high profile trade battles and a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, the country’s trade deficits ‘America has remained stubbornly high’ throughout Trump’s presidency.

“For July, the deficit with China in goods totaled 31.6 billion dollars, an increase of 11.5% compared to the imbalance of June”, AP Noted. “The goods deficit with Mexico hit a record high of $ 10.6 in July… The United States recorded a goods trade deficit of $ 80.1 billion in July, the highest on record. ”

The July trade deficit figures come less than a month after a report by the Institute for Economic Policy (EPI) found that despite Trump’s repeated vows to “bring” manufacturing jobs back to the United States – United, the president’s first-term trade agenda and the disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic have “wiped out much of the job gains of the past decade in US manufacturing.”

“The Trump administration has taken credit for the ‘redistribution’ of manufacturing jobs, but the data shows that is not true,” said Robert Scott, senior economist and director of trade and manufacturing research at EAR. “Nearly 1,800 factories disappeared under Trump between 2016 and 2018”.

“Additionally, the United States’ trade deficit in manufactured goods increased significantly between 2016 and 2019,” Scott added. “In fact, the real US trade deficit has grown every year since 2016, reducing GDP growth by about 0.25% per year over the past three years. In addition to the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, blue-collar workers need serious help from policy makers. “


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