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Trade deficit falls to $63.9 billion in September

FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2019, file photo, cargo cranes are used to take containers off of a Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation boat at the Port of Tacoma in Tacoma, Wash. The U.S. trade deficit rose in August to the highest level in 14 years. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the gap between the goods and services the United States sells and what it buys abroad climbed 5.9% in August to $67.1 billion.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit fell in September after hitting a 14-year high the previous month as exports outpaced imports.

The gap between what the U.S. sells and what it buys abroad fell to $63.9 billion in September, a decline of 4.7%, from a $67 billion deficit in August, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. September exports rose 2.6% to $176.4 billion, while imports ticked up 0.5% to $240.2 billion.

Year to date, the goods and services deficit has jumped $38.5 billion, or 8.6%, to $485.6 billion. The total deficit for goods and services for the same period in 2019 was $447.1 billion. Total exports are down 17.4% this year from 2019, while imports have declined by 12.4% as the coronavirus pandemic has sabotaged global commerce this year and disrupted global supply chains everywhere.

The politically sensitive deficit in the trade of goods with China fell about 8% in September to $24.3 billion from $26.4 billion in August. Exports to China in September of $11.5 billion were the highest since March of 2018.

When Donald Trump campaigned for president in 2016 he pledged to sharply lower the country’s large trade deficits, especially with China, which for years has been the country with the largest trade surplus with the United States.

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But despite Trump’s confrontational approach on trade with China and a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, America’s trade deficits have remained stubbornly high.

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