US trade gap falls to $39.9 in February, lowest since 2016

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 tumbled in February 2020 to the lowest level since 2016 as exports fell and imports fell more. The politically sensitive gap in the trade of goods with China narrowed in February when the world’s No. 2 economy was locked down to combat the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit tumbled in February to the lowest level since 2016 as exports fell and imports fell more. The politically sensitive gap in the trade of goods with China narrowed in February when the world’s No. 2 economy was locked down to combat the coronavirus outbreak..

The Commerce Department said Thursday that the gap between what the U.S. buys and what it sells abroad dropped 12.2% to $39.9 billion in February, the lowest since September 2016. Exports fell 0.4% to $207.5 billion. Imports skidded 2.5% to $247.5 billion.

The goods gap with China fell 17% to $19.7 billion on a 13% drop in imports.

In February, the United States ran a $61.2 billion deficit in the trade of goods such as aircraft and appliances. But it ran a $21.3 billion surplus in services such as education and tourism.

President Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to reduce America’s massive trade imbalances, especially with China. He has imposed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports. Last year, the U.S. trade deficit dropped for the first time in six years.

COVID-19 is also devastating global trade as economies around the world isolate themselves to fight the outbreak.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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