According to figures out this week, the U.S. trade deficit rose slightly in 2016 to $502.3 billion, reaching its highest level in four years. The trade gap widened last year because exports fell faster than imports, the result of a weak global economy and a stronger dollar that made American products more expensive to foreign buyers.
The gap with China is by far the largest among the major U.S. trading partners. Although the deficit dropped by 5.5 percent in 2016, it still totaled $347 billion. That’s more than 60 percent of the overall U.S. trade deficit.
Meanwhile, closer to home, the trade deficit with Mexico rose 4.2 percent, reaching $63.2 billion, in 2016. That marks a five-year high for that figure as well.