WASHINGTON (AP) — Record imports in October drove the U.S. trade deficit to the highest level in a decade.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that the gap between the United States sells and what it buys from foreign countries hit $55.5 billion in October, the fifth straight increase and highest since October 2008.
The politically sensitive deficit in the trade of goods with China rose 7.1% to a record $43.1 billion. The goods gap with the European Union widened 65.5% to a record $17.6 billion.
Led by shipments of medicine and cars, overall imports rose 0.2% to a record $266.5 billion. Exports fell 0.1% to $211 billion.
President Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to slash America's longstanding trade deficit with the rest of the world. Despite his import taxes on steel, aluminum and Chinese goods, the deficit so far this year is running 11.4% above January-October 2017.
U.S. exports of soybeans, targeted for retaliatory tariffs by China, dropped 46.8% in October.
Trump sees the lopsided trade numbers as a sign of U.S. economic weakness and as the result of bad trade deals and abusive practices by U.S. trading partners, especially China...