WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- 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 US Commerce Department said Friday.
The US trade deficit in goods and services widened by 17.7 percent to 678.7 billion US dollars in 2020, the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the department.
As a percentage of the US gross domestic product (GDP), the trade deficit was 3.2 percent in 2020, up from 2.7 percent in 2019.
The data also showed that US exports dropped by 15.7 percent to 2,131.9 billion dollars in 2020 while imports declined by 9.5 percent to 2,810.6 billion dollars amid the COVID-19 fallout.
The widening trade deficit came after the Commerce Department reported last month that the US economy contracted 3.5 percent in 2020, the largest annual decline of US GDP since 1946.
While former US President Donald Trump had tried to shrink the US trade deficit by imposing additional tariffs on various imports, economists have argued that US persistent deficit with trading partners resulted from its macroeconomic policy rather than trade flows.