Washington, February 6: The overall US trade deficit surged to a 12-year high in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic weighed on both exports and imports, the Commerce Department said. The country's trade deficit in goods and services widened by 17.7 per cent to $678.7 billion in 2020, the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis, Xinhua news agency quoted the Department as saying in a statement on Friday.

As a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), the trade deficit was 3.2 per cent in 2020, up from 2.7 per cent in 2019. The data also showed that US exports dropped by 15.7 per cent to $2,131.9 billion in 2020, while imports declined by 9.5 per cent to $2,810.6 billion amid the COVID-19 fallout. US Recession: 140,000 Jobs Lost in US in December 2020.

The widening trade deficit came after the Commerce Department reported last month that the US economy contracted 3.5 per cent in 2020, the largest annual decline of the GDP since 1946. While former President Donald Trump had tried to shrink the US trade deficit by imposing additional tariffs on various imports, economists have argued that the country's persistent deficit with trading partners resulted from its macroeconomic policy.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 06, 2021 07:28 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).