What is the trade deficit?
A trade deficit is, quite simply, the total value of a country’s imports of goods and services minus the total value of its exports of goods and services. When a country exports more than it imports, it has a trade surplus, and when it imports more than it exports, it has a trade deficit. A trade deficit can mean one of two things: Either the country is failing to produce enough goods for its citizens, or its citizens are wealthy enough to purchase more goods than the country produces (as is the case with the United States).
The United States’ top export partners are its closest neighbors, Canada and Mexico, due in part to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which, pending ratification, will be replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Regarding imports to the U.S., China takes the top spot, followed by Mexico and Canada.