US trade deficit had been widening before 2008, because the economy was growing fast and manufacturers were shifting production outside of America. But since 2008, trade deficit has been flat, falling within $45 billion to $55 billion.
The US's major trade partners are Canada (18%), Mexico (16%), China (10%), Japan (5%), UK (4%) and Germany (3%).
Main exports to Canada and Mexico are machinery and raw material. US exports to these countries decline when commodity prices drop, because a decline in commodity price will lead to a decrease of profit and a reduction in capital expenses.
About 20% of US imports are services, of which the highest percentage is travel (25%), transportation (20%), insurance (10%), IPR (10%), telecommunication and information (10%), and financial services (5%).
Travel imports are higher because overseas travel is getting more and more popular.
The US has the highest trade deficit with OPEC and China up until 2008, but after the US began producing shale oil to meet its domestic demand, the US has managed to turn the deficit with OPEC into a surplus.
Trade deficit with China, however, has been widening and reached as much as $337.2 billion in 2017, most of which is electronics. China has become the largest creditor to the US, triggering Trump to start the trade war with China.
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