Fact Checking Biden on Trade Deficits

— Mr. Biden

The trade deficit with China — the gap between what America exports to China and what it imports — fell sharply between 2018 and 2019 as Mr. Trump’s trade war suppressed commerce between the world’s largest economies.

So far this year, the trade deficit in goods with China is running below last year’s levels, as the United States imports fewer products. But while Mr. Trump has lowered the trade deficit with China, deficits with other countries have grown and the overall trade deficit is once again trending up.

American consumers have shifted to buying more goods from countries like Vietnam and Mexico, in part because Mr. Trump’s tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods have raised prices on those imports.

The overall United States trade deficit shrank last year for the first time in six years. So far this year, it is once again climbing sharply, as both imports and exports remain below pre-pandemic levels. The monthly trade deficit in July hit the highest level in 12 years, and the trade deficit in goods with Mexico hit a new record.