November 12, 2019

Trump Vowed to Shrink the Trade Gap. It Keeps Growing.

“In a very narrow sense, higher tariffs on China are working: They clearly have reduced trade and thus the trade deficit with China,” Brad Setser, an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote on Twitter. But “imports from both Taiwan and Vietnam are up substantially,” he added.

The data also showed that in September, the United States became a net exporter of petroleum products for the first time in more than four decades, driven by a boom in fracking. The United States exported $14.97 billion of petroleum products, including non-energy goods like ethane, butane and benzene, but imported only $14.71 billion of those products.

The new data come as Trump administration officials weigh whether to further roll back tariffs placed on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods in order to clinch a so-called phase one deal in the coming weeks.

President Trump announced on Oct. 11 that he had reached a verbal agreement with China on an interim pact that the two sides would sign. The deal would increase Chinese protections for American intellectual property, open up Chinese financial markets and ensure large Chinese purchases of American agricultural goods, Mr. Trump said.

The two sides intended to sign that deal at a summit of global leaders in Santiago, Chile, in mid-November. But last week, Chile canceled the summit because of domestic protests.

They are now searching for another location for a signing ceremony. President Trump has floated Iowa as the site, likely to tout China’s planned purchases of American farm products.

“First, we’ll see if we get the deal,” Mr. Trump told reporters last Saturday. “And if we get the deal, the meeting place will come very easily. It’ll be someplace in the U.S.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/us/politics/us-trade-deficit.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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