Trump trade crackdown: US exports hit two-year high in May as deficit with China falls 6%

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Amid a strict crackdown from the Trump administration on trade imbalances, U.S. trade deficits shrank in May, including the gap with China.

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The Commerce Department said Thursday that the U.S. deficit in the trade of goods and services fell 2.2% in May to a seasonally adjusted $46.5 billion. U.S. exports rose modestly to $192 billion — the highest level since April 2015 — on rising shipments of cars and consumer goods, including cellphones. Imports fell slightly.

The deficit in goods with China fell by 6.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted $30.1 billion.

However, as the United States looks to begin NAFTA renegotiation discussions this summer, the gap with Mexico rose by 5.6% to $6.8 billion.

The Trump administration has been clear about its intention to correct unfair trade practices with a variety of countries across the world, ranging from China—with which the U.S. has a more than $300 billion trade imbalance—to U.S. neighbors Canada and Mexico. In addition to renegotiating, or pulling out of, unfair agreements, the administration has looked into the trade of a variety of commodities, including steel and lumber, and has shown its willingness to take punitive action in order to correct dumping practices.

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Still, despite the reprieve in May, there is more work to be done.

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The overall U.S. trade deficit is up 13.1 percent so far this year to $233.1 billion. Exports are up 6 percent to $957.8 billion. But imports are up more — 7.3 percent to $1.19 trillion.

So far in 2017, the U.S. is running a $336.2 billion deficit in the trade of goods and a $103.1 billion surplus in the trade of services such as banking and tourism.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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