It’s a Record! Monthly Trade Deficit with China Hits All-Time High

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Nov 04 2014 |
President Obama heads to China next week. Will the trade deficit be on his agenda? | Photo by Pete Souza, The White House

Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt your normal midterm Election Day programming to bring you this important news bulletin: The U.S. monthly goods and services trade deficit reached $43 billion in September, up from $40 billion in August, according to the Commerce Department.

That’s not all, folks. The trade deficit with China hit $35.6 billion in September, which is the highest-ever and the sixth time our trade gap with China has been over $30 billion in a single month. The deficit with Japan grew in September, too, hitting $5.3 billion.

This not-so-good deficit news comes directly ahead of President Obama’s state visit to China next week, where he’ll meet with Chinese leaders and attend the APEC Economic Summit. The visit provides an opportunity for Obama to actually do something about the deficit, which is hindering America’s job growth, especially in manufacturing. As Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul noted:

Our economy becomes more overleveraged with imports from China every year. Right now, that bilateral trade deficit is one of the largest drags on the GDP and jobs in the productive sector.

Imagine the economic growth and jobs potential if exports and imports were more in line — we might actually see a real manufacturing resurgence. The first test comes next week when President Obama visits China. Will he 'get tough with China' as he has frequently promised, or will we see more of the same?

It’s unlikely that the deficit will be one of the chief points of discussion during POTUS’s visit to China. But coupled with the new record-setting deficit figures, the trip is a reminder that Obama promised to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of his second term.

According to our #AAMeter, just 189,000 new jobs have been created thus far, with the newest numbers set to be released on Friday. If Obama is serious about manufacturing job creation, there’s no better place to get to work than by addressing America’s trade deficit, especially with China.