Trump's New Legacy: Biggest U.S. Trade Deficit In 14 Years
Despite massive tariffs introduced by President Donald Trump, the US has just hit its largest trade deficit in 14 years.
The gap between the value of goods and services the US buys and the value they sell overseas rose 5.9% in August to $ 67.1 billion. This is the biggest gap since August 2006.
Imports rose 3.2% to $ 239 billion - led by purchases of crude oil, automobiles, and auto parts - compared to exports which rose only 2.2% to $ 171.9 billion in shipments of primarily soybeans, reported the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.
So far this year, the US has seen a $ 421.8 billion trade gap - up 5.7% from January to August 2019 - despite the fact that closing the trade gap was a signature promise from Trump.
US trade representative Robert Lighthizer tried to influence the numbers positively, saying that Americans spend more money on imports than residents of other nations because the US economy is recovering faster, MarketWatch reported. Over the years Americans have generally spent more on imports, but the trade deficit has been consistently attacked by Trump.
A union official at a Michigan steel mill has beaten Trump for the failure of his collective bargaining system to save steelworkers' jobs, as he promised.
"I don't see any policies that have helped us," said Bob Kemper, chairman of the complaints committee in the United Steelworkers Union's Great Lakes Works chapter. "We're losing our damn jobs here." Great Lakes has ceased steel production and cut 1,250 workers.
Trump promised to revitalize the steel and coal industries in his 2016 campaign. According to Reuters, steelmakers have served dismissal letters to nearly 2,000 workers since the tariffs went into effect.
Michigan's manufacturing sector currently employs 55,100 fewer workers than when he took office in January 2017, according to statistics from the US Department of Labor. The battlefield state, which Trump last won with less than 11,000 votes, is crucial to his re-election.
Employment in hard coal mining has fallen by 9% to around 46,000 since 2016 as 66 coal-fired power plants - almost 20% of all operations in the US - were closed.
Trump imposed a 25% tariff on imported steel in 2018, and China, in turn, imposed retaliatory tariffs. International demand for US steel declined due to retaliatory tariffs, and American companies that had yet to import goods faced higher costs.
According to a study by the impartial Congressional Budget Office, the price of tariffs on American consumer goods will cost the average US family an additional $ 1,277 this year. They cost American companies $ 46 billion in early 2020.
Trump said when he began raising tariffs that trade wars were "easy to win".
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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