The US trade deficit widened sharply in December as slowing global demand and a strong dollar weighed on exports, another sign that economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter. Other data from the Commerce Department on Wednesday showed new orders for US-made goods barely rose in December and business spending on equipment was much weaker than previously thought, pointing to a softening in manufacturing activity.
United States and China are expected to impose fresh tariffs on US$ 16bn of each other's goods on Thursday as their tit-for-tat trade war rages on. The second round of tariffs will see a total of US$ 50bn worth of goods from each side that will now be taxed. Since the opening salvo in July, tensions between the world's two largest economies have escalated, hurting their companies and economies.
Canada began imposing tariffs Sunday on US$12.6 billion in U.S. goods as retaliation for the Trump administration's new taxes on steel and aluminum imported to the United States. Some U.S. products, mostly steel and iron, face 25% tariffs, the same penalty the United States slapped on imported steel at the end of May.
The European Union (EU) has introduced retaliatory tariffs on US goods as a top official launched a fresh attack on President Donald Trump's trade policy. The duties on €2.8bn worth of US goods came into force on Friday. Tariffs have been imposed on products such as bourbon whiskey, motorcycles and orange juice.