Trade deficit up more than 8 percent in May

Trade deficit up more than 8 percent in May
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The U.S. trade deficit in May rose a sharp $4.3 billion, or 8.4 percent, to reach $55.5 billion, despite efforts by President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE to increase the country's net exports.

While exports were up 2 percent from April, reaching $210.6 billion, imports were up even higher at $266.2 billion, a 3.3 percent increase from April.

All in all, the deficit for the first five months of the year increased $14.7 billion, or 6.4 percent, from the same period in 2018.

Trump has imposed a slew of tariffs on trading partners as a pressure tactic to pursue both economic and political goals. The most significant tariffs were on $250 billion of Chinese imports to the United States, though tariffs have also affected Mexico, Canada and the European Union, to name a few.

Many of the affected countries have introduced their own countermeasures, imposing tariffs on U.S. exports.

Last week, Trump agreed to put off a new round of tariffs on Chinese imports and restart negotiations on a trade deal. His administration has also continued to push Congress to approve an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

House Democrats are seeking changes to the agreement that would improve enforcement mechanisms and strengthen labor and environmental standards.