Two key issues for the president, such as foreign trade and immigration, turn against him. The trade deficit soared in 2018 to levels of a decade ago and the number of people trying to cross the border from Mexico reached the highest level in 12 years in February, despite Trump’s promises to reduce the trade hole and stop the entry of foreigners.
The data shows that real life moves away from slogans. The imbalance between what the United States imports and exports amounted to 621,000 million dollars in 2018. The deficit grew by 12.5% in one year and 23% compared to what he inherited from Barack Obama.
It is the biggest gap since 2008 and is a historical record. This increase in the trade deficit occurs despite the increase in tariffs for Chinese imports – essential products for car manufacturers or household appliances, such as steel or aluminum – approved last year.
The statistics thus reflect that the deficit with China in the exchange of goods was 419.2 billion in 2018, 11% more. It is followed by Mexico, with whom it has an imbalance of 81.520 million, after registering an increase of 15% in one year. Exceeds the 68.250 million deficit with Germany. With the countries of the European Union amounted to 169,300 million, 12% more than in 2017.
The escalation in the trade war with Beijing has not served Trump to fulfill his purposes. The strength of domestic demand in the United States has been enough to counteract the effect of tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration in recent months. Meanwhile, US exports have been hurt by the retaliation of other countries to these tariffs, especially in the agricultural sector, in response to Trump’s greater protectionism.
The Republican promised during the 2016 election campaign to reduce the trade balance deficit by half in the long term. He used as an argument the revision of trade agreements with partners such as Mexico and Canada, which is in the process of being approved by the US Congress. It also negotiates with China a pact to withdraw tariffs and there are ongoing discussions with the European Union.
The uncertainty generated by this protectionist escalation is having a negative impact on growth, analysts said. The economy grew 2.9% in 2018 and will slow to 2.3% this year. Trump promised a growth rate of 4%.