US trade deficit drops sharply to $43.6 billion in February

Friday, March 31, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 13

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit declined sharply in February as imports from China fell by a record amount and American exports rose for a third straight month.

The Commerce Department says the deficit fell to $43.6 billion in February, 9.6 percent below January's deficit of $48.2 billion. Exports rose a tiny 0.2 percent to $192.9 billion. Imports dropped 1.8 percent to $236.4 billion as the flow of Chinese goods tumbled by $8.6 billion, led by a big drop in cell phone imports.

The politically sensitive trade deficit with China narrowed to $23 billion, 26.6 percent below the January total. President Donald Trump, who was sharply critical of Chinese trade practices during last year's presidential campaign, will hold his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week in Florida.