The U.S. trade deficit jumped nearly 15 percent in January as strong U.S. demand for imports reflected economic growth but raised concerns over the fact that American exports -- despite a record-setting month -- were not keeping pace.
U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk heads to Capitol Hill this morning for what promises to be a testy hearing with lawmakers eager for the administration to move on three pending free trade agreements.
Several of this country's most powerful corporate leaders met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Obama at the White House on Wednesday to discuss increasing U.S. exports to China in order to support more American jobs.
China has agreed to $45 billion in trade and investment contracts with U.S. companies and has made a series of other trade-related concessions, a senior White House official said Wednesday.
No one is calling it a breakthrough, but business groups welcomed -- guardedly -- the agreements announced between the United States and China on Wednesday that would open new technology and agriculture markets for U.S. products and would see the Chinese toughen enforcement of intellectual property and software piracy laws.
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in October as the value of exports surged and imports dipped after a drop in oil. The 13 percent decrease put the trade gap at its lowest level in nine months. Analysts cautioned that the outcome might be short-lived: Oil imports are likely to rebound, and, excluding oil, imports of goods and services increased. While the jump in the value of exports was broad, including all major categories of goods and services, analysts said some of the increase was triggered by rising food and other prices.