WASHINGTON (Jan. 17)—The U.S. rubber product trade deficit decreased 11 percent in August 2001, continuing a year-long trend toward better trade balance. The deficit for the month fell to $257.7 million, down from $289.5 million in August 2000, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures. Exports during the period slipped 5.7 percent to $438.4 million, while imports dropped 7.7 percent to $696.1 million. For the first eight months of 2001, the rubber product deficit declined 14.5 percent to $1.88 billion, down from $2.2 billion in 2000. Exports descended 4.3 percent to $3.34 billion, while imports slowed by 8.2 percent to $5.23 billion.