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US trade gap widens amid Trump’s tariff battle

The U.S. trade deficit increased 7.4 percent in June amid the nation’s ongoing tariff battle with its global trading partners.

The total deficit in goods and services rose to $46.3 billion for the month, from $43.2 billion in May, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Imports increased by $1.6 billion, to $260.2 billion, while exports declined by $1.5 billion, to $213.8 billion.

As the White House engages in a tit-for-tat tariff fight with China, the trade deficit with that country rose to $32.5 billion and now stands just shy of $200 billion year to date.

Smoothed over a three-month average, the trade imbalance edged lower by $300 million, to $45.2 billion.

The numbers come as the Trump administration has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as well as a $34 billion menu of goods from China. In addition, the White House has threatened another $200 billion of duties against China.

The administration also is trying to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. The deficit with Canada for the month was $2.6 billion, while the deficit with Mexico was $6.7 billion.

President Donald Trump has set reducing the global trade deficit as a major priority.