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 TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg 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.