FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2018, file photo, a container ship waits to be unloaded at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, Calif. The Commerce Department reports on the U.S. trade gap for January, on Wednesday, March 7. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

US trade gap rises to $56.6 billion, highest since 2008

March 07, 2018 - 8:33 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit rose in January to the highest level since October 2008, defying President Donald Trump's efforts to bring more balance to America's trade with the rest of the world.

The Commerce Department says the trade deficit rose to $56.6 billion in January, up from $53.9 billion in December and the highest since October 2008's $60.2 billion trade gap. The trade deficit — the gap between what America sells and what it buys abroad — has risen for five straight months.

Trump rattled financial markets last week by promising to slap big tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. He blames persistent deficits on abusive practices by U.S. trading partners and on bad trade deals that put American companies at a disadvantage or encourage them to move factories overseas.

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