US export jump narrows Sept trade gap to $63.9 bn: Govt

Washington, Nov 4 (AFP/APP):A jump in soybean exports and sharp drop in cell phone imports led to a 4.7 percent narrowing of the US trade deficit in September, according to government data released Wednesday.

The drop in the trade gap to $63.9 billion could be hailed as a win for President Donald Trump who made an aggressive trade strategy with China a hallmark of his first term in office. The “phase one” trade agreement reached early this year included commitments from Beijing to buy huge amounts of US crops.

On the day after the US presidential election there is no clear winner in the contest between Trump and former vice president Joe Biden to see who will preside over the White House and trade policy starting in January. Total US exports in September rose to $176.4 billion, and though imports also rose, to $240.2 billion, the increase was minimal, according to the Commerce Department data. Overseas sales of soybeans — of which China is a key buyer — surged by $1.4 billion.

And the data also showed that the US trade gap with China dropped by $2.1 billion in the month to $24.3 billion. Trump had made cutting that figure a goal of his policy that imposed steep tariffs on billions of dollars in imported goods, a strategy many economists say have hurt US firms and farmers.

Car imports surged by $2.4 billion in the month, but cell phone purchases fell by nearly the same amount, according to the report.

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