US Trade Gap Narrows as West Coast ports revive access
US Trade Gap Narrows as West Coast ports revive access

The US trade gap shrank to its lowest level in more than five years, resulting in a business upswing.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. trade gap is at its lowest level in more than five years. The Commerce Department released a report stating the trade deficit narrowed to $35.44 billion in February after a labor dispute erupted which tied up goods in the West Coast.

In total, exports decreased 1.6 percent from January to $186.25 billion, while imports decreased 4.4 percent to $221.69 billion – the largest drop in imports since the recession ended in 2009.

The West Coast ports facilitate nearly half of all U.S. cargo and came to a near halt due to employers and dock workers negotiating a new contract. The two sides reached a settlement in February and economists expected trade flows to bounce back, but the uptake in shipping has been slow.

“While an agreement has been reached, the slowdown has created a significant backlog and the reality is we are still waiting for many containers to be unloaded at the port,” Julie Whalen, chief financial officer at Williams-Sonoma Inc., told investors last month.

For companies who require goods from other parts of the world or ship their products out, this can mean a standstill in sales.

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