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Japan ranks as 3rd-biggest country for U.S. trade deficit in 2017

WASHINGTON — The U.S. goods trade deficit with Japan totaled $68.85 billion in 2017, the third-largest among countries with which the United States generated a trade deficit, government data showed Tuesday.


The deficit with China came to $375.23 billion, accounting for roughly half the U.S. trade deficit globally, while the figure with Mexico was $71.06 billion, the Commerce Department said.


The data came as President Donald Trump has pledged to reduce U.S. trade deficits with major trading partners including the three countries as well as Germany, Ireland and Malaysia.


The 2017 deficit with Japan was up 0.1 percent from the previous year, while that of China rose 8.1 percent to the highest level on record. The deficit with Mexico expanded 10.4 percent.


Globally, the U.S. goods trade deficit widened 8.1 percent in the reporting year to $796.15 billion, hitting the highest level since 2008, according to the department.


Exports grew 6.6 percent to $1,546.76 billion and imports climbed 7.1 percent to $2,342.91 billion.


As for trade with Japan, imports of automobiles and motor parts totaled $55.88 billion in 2017, compared to $2.37 billion in exports of U.S. autos and parts.


Trump has criticized Japan’s trade practices. “We want fair and open trade. But right now, our trade with Japan is not fair and it’s not open,” he said last November.


Trump cited automobiles as an example of “not free” and “not reciprocal” trade between the two countries. Washington is likely to step up calls for Japanese automakers to expand production in the United States and increase purchases of U.S.-made parts.


In 2017, Japan was the second-largest exporter of passenger cars for the United States after Canada. Mexico ranked third and Germany fourth.


Including services, the U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world grew 12.1 percent to $566.03 billion in 2017, also the highest level since 2008, according to the department.

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