President Trump says that the United States’ persistent trade deficit is a scourge that must be eliminated. But new data Tuesday shows the complexity of the costs and benefits of trade — and how reducing the trade deficit, if not done right, could leave Americans worse off.
What really matters is not whether the trade deficit is rising or falling. What matters is why.
The trade deficit rose 9.6 percent in January, to the highest level since 2012 (though it remains lower as a share of the total economy). It’s in the details of that $48.5 billion gap between what the United States exported and what it imported, though, that you see why the economy is more complex than the “trade deficits are bad” framing of the Trump administration.
Read more at The New York Times: The Huge January Trade Deficit Shows Trump’s Hard Job Ahead – NYTimes.com