A trade deficit – also known as a negative balance of trade – is an economic term related to international trade. A trade deficit, in short, means that a nation’s imports exceed its exports. In other words, a country with a trade deficit spends more money in a year than it receives from its exports. Many nations around the world have trade deficits, including the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States.
The United States has the largest trade deficit in the world. In 2018, the trade deficit of this nation was $621 billion. While the country brought in over $3 trillion in imports, the amount of exports was just $2.5 trillion. The largest exports of the United States were cars, food, and commercial aircraft. The largest imports were cell phones, oil, and cars.
The largest deficit in goods in the United States is with China. In fact, over 65% of the trade deficit – or $419 billion – is because of imports from China. The main imports that the US purchased from China include clothing, machinery, and electronics.
The United States also has a trade deficit with Mexico. This deficit is significantly smaller than that of China’s at just $81 billion. The U.S. has imported $346 billion worth of goods from Mexico, including vehicles and auto parts.
A trade deficit of $68.2 billion with Germany is the third largest trade deficit of the U.S. The U.S. imported $126 billion in auto parts and vehicles, medicine, and machinery.
The United States has a trade deficit of $67.6 billion with Japan. Vehicles and industrial supplies are among the primary imports that the U.S. acquires from Japan.
The U.S. also has a $20 billion trade deficit with Canada. While the U.S. exports vehicles, petroleum, and auto parts, it imports more crude oil and gas from Canada.