According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday, the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services declined by $10.9 billion in 2019, mainly thanks to a steep drop in goods imports from China. The goods and services deficit stood at $616.8 billion last year, as exports were virtually flat at $2,499.8 billion and imports declined slightly to $3,116.5 billion.
The most obvious question ahead of the release was how the trade war with China would affect trade flows between the two countries. To no one’s surprise, the effect was significant, especially when looking at U.S. goods imports from China, which dropped by $87.9 billion to $452.2 billion, the lowest level since 2013. Meanwhile U.S. goods exports to China declined more moderately by $13.5 billion to $106.6 billion. In relative terms, U.S. imports from China dropped by 16 percent, while exports declined by 11 percent.
China wasn’t the only country that saw demand from the U.S. change significantly in 2019. While U.S. imports from Venezuela dropped by $11.2 billion due to sanctions imposed against the authoritarian leadership of Nicolás Maduro, other countries and territories, Vietnam, Mexico and Taiwan in particular, profited from the fact that many U.S. companies diversified their supply chain to reduce dependency on China. The following chart shows the 10 countries that saw the largest absolute change in goods exports to the United States last year.