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U.S. trade deficit with Japan widens 11.3% in May

WASHINGTON – The U.S. goods trade deficit with Japan widened 11.3 percent in May from the previous month to $5.8 billion for the first expansion in two months, the Commerce Department said Thursday.


The U.S. deficit with Japan was the third largest by country, after China and Mexico, the department said. In April, the deficit with Japan was the fourth largest by country.


U.S. President Donald Trump is calling for “fair” trade and has pledged to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with major trading partners such as China and Japan. Trump has also expressed his preference for handling trade issues bilaterally.


The deficit with Japan increased despite a decline in imports of automobiles and auto parts, and due to sharp increases of other products.

The U.S. trade deficit with China, which accounted for nearly half of the U.S. global trade deficit in May, rose 14.4 percent to $31.61 billion, the department said.


The deficit with Mexico — a party to the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada — swelled 15.8 percent to $7.29 billion, the highest since October 2007.


As for Germany, which had the third-largest trade surplus with the U.S. in April, the U.S. deficit in May narrowed by 8.9 percent to $4.99 billion.


Globally, the U.S. deficit in trade of goods and services narrowed 2.3 percent in May from the previous month to $46.51 billion, shrinking for the first time in three months.


The average import price per barrel of crude oil was $45.03, down from $45.40 in April.


The global trade figures are measured on a balance-of-payments basis after seasonal adjustment, and the country-by-country and regional breakdowns are based on unadjusted customs-cleared data.

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