It may not seem like much in the grand scheme of all things trade-related, but POTUS Donald Trump notched a win in regards to his efforts to lower the U.S. trade deficit with China and other countries in November.
The deficit fell that month for the first time following five straight months of increases as goods imported mostly from China but also other partners increased more than U.S. exports, CNBC reported Wednesday.
Trimming the imbalance has been one of the president’s primary objectives since taking office and is the primary driver behind his tariff regimen with China, which some economists believe is having the desired effect.
Government trade figures released on Wednesday revealed that the deficit gap in November, the most recent month data is available, fell to $49.3 from $55.7 in October, or an 11.5 percent decline.
Economic experts polled by Dow Jones had said they expected the decline to be much smaller, clocking in around $54.3 billion.
The overall decline in the trade gap came largely as a result of a fall in imports, which were off 2.9 percent at $259.2 billion. Meanwhile, U.S. exports also slipped to $209.9 billion, or a drop of 0.6 percent.
Still, the trade deficit narrowing comes at an opportune time for President Trump, who is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, perhaps in Vietnam, at the end of this month following the president’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
As we have reported, the Chinese Communist Party is growing increasingly concerned about unrest throughout the country as China’s economy slowed late last year, largely due to its trade war with the U.S.
Communist Party leaders in China wrapped up a four-day conference in Beijing late last month in which Wang Huning, the party’s ideology adviser and its fifth most powerful member, called on cadres in the provinces to fight “a tough battle” in controlling risks, Xinhua reported, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.
In an address to the assembled party leaders, Wang recounted a growing list of risks to internal stability that Beijing is facing as the trade war drags on and tariffs are taking a bite out of Chinese economic growth, which is the slowest since 1990.
Wang urged the political cadres to keep President Xi Jinping’s leadership safe and to adhere to the party line. He also told officials that they had to follow up by showing they are responding to what they were told via “actions and results.”
His concerns echoed those of President Xi’s during Monday’s opening sessions when he instructed the cadres to be on the lookout for any signs of risks that could impact societal stability and his reforms.
As for their meeting, The South China Morning Post reported that the two leaders are expected to continue pushing to resolve ongoing trade disputes ahead of a March 1 deadline when the Trump administration plans to implement tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of goods exported by China.
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