Trade War Shift Followed By Covid

Recessions tend to reduce trade deficits. Notice the impact of the Great Recession and again now. 

2019 is the key year. Notice that Trump reduced the trade deficit with China from $418.95 billion to $345.2 billion. That's an improvement of $73.75 billion.

However, the trade deficit from top partners rose from $848.52 billion to $864.24 billion. That's an overall worsening of $15.72 billion.

US Balance of Trade China Mexico Vietnam

US Balance of Trade China Mexico Vietnam 2020-10

2018 to 2019 Synopsis 

  • The trade deficit in goods with China improved from $418.95 billion to $345.2 billion. That's an improvement of $73.75 billion.
  • The trade deficit with Mexico, Taiwan, and Vietnam rose by $47.07 billion. 
  • The overall trade deficit (17 nation total including China) rose by $15.72 billion.

Chart data is from usatrade.census.gov

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The data shows that all Trump managed to do is shift the trade deficit from China to other nations led by Mexico, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

The Covid recession further reduced the trade deficit pretty much across the board as recessions tend to do.

China Trade Surplus Hits Record High in November

Note that China Has a Record Trade Surplus in November as exports surged.

Data from the Census Department is through October and does not reflect China's record November surplus.

Trump's Failure

Trump tried to balance the trade deficit with tariffs. It was a fool's mission as explained in Balance of Trade vs Gold Window

Also consider Trump's Unwinnable Trade War: Gold Explains Why

Mish