WASHINGTON—The annual U.S. international trade deficit fell by about $20 billion in 2012, but the trade deficit with China increased by that amount, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Trade figures for 2012 showed the annual trade deficit in goods and services stood at $540.4 billion for the year, compared with $559.9 billion in 2011, the bureau said. Lower petroleum imports were largely responsible for the decrease, it said.
But the trade deficit with China inched over $315 billion in 2012, an all-time record, up from $295.4 billion in 2011, according to the bureau.
Manufacturing trade also reached an all-time record deficit in 2012, reaching $684.5 billion, up nearly 7 percent from the previous year.
“Today's data show that the major reindustrialization so urgently needed by the U.S. economy will require major policy changes, especially on the trade front, not the wishful in-shoring thinking emanating from the White House,” said Alan Tonelson, senior research fellow with the U.S. Business and Industry Council, in a statement about the trade figures.
The new figures, Tonelson said, “make clear that the U.S. economy remains stuck in the dangerous trap of relying on spending, borrowing, deficits and debt creation to produce any significant growth or job creation.”
The Alliance for American Manufacturing also decried current U.S. trade policy in light of the new figures. “If Washington spent as much time worrying about the trade deficit as it did the budget deficit, our unemployment rate would be a lot lower than it is right now,” said AAM President Scott Paul.
“The record trade deficit with China will not disappear on its own,” Paul said. “Congress and the administration must take on currency manipulation and monetary policy, as well as China's persistent cheating on its trade obligations and our own economic policy, which still favors outsourcing over insourcing.”