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Despite White House efforts to shift the U.S. trade balance in a more positive direction, the trade deficit in goods and services rose for the fifth straight month in October to $55.5 billion, the highest monthly total since October 2008. Exports slipped 0.1 percent to $11.0 billion while imports rose 0.2 percent to a record-high $266.5 billion. For the year to date, the total trade deficit is up 11.4 percent from 2017 as exports have risen 7.7 percent and imports have increased 8.4 percent.
The deficit in goods trade rose 1.2 percent to $78.1 billion in October. Imports of goods gained 0.2 percent to $219.6 billion, including increases of $1.5 billion for pharmaceutical preparations and $700 million for automotive vehicles, parts, and engines and a $3.2 billion decrease in capital goods. Exports of goods were down 0.3 percent to $141.5 billion, including decreases of $800 million for soybeans (which have been hard hit by tariffs in China, a major export market) and $300 million each for civilian aircraft and civilian aircraft engines as well as a $300 million increase in industrial supplies and materials.
The services surplus slipped another 0.4 percent to $22.6 billion as imports rose 0.4 percent to $46.9 billion and exports edged up 0.1 percent to $69.6 billion.
Less than $0.1 billion