I’m using Mr. Trump’s definition. Trade deficit overall (NIPA definition) and bilateral with China both increasing.
Note that not much progress is apparent even if normalizing by GDP.
Figure 2: US net exports (blue), and US-China goods trade balance (red), both as a share of GDP. Net exports NIPA definition, SAAR. US-China is difference of monthly series seaonally adjusted using X-13. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Trump administration shaded orange. Source: BEA, 2018Q3 2nd (preliminary) release.
What about Mr. Trump’s favorite — even if irrelevant — measure, that is the goods trade balance. That too is deteriorating.
Figure 3: US goods net exports (blue), centered 3-quarter moving average (purple), both as a share of GDP. Goods net exports NIPA definition, SAAR. Trump administration shaded orange. Source: BEA, 2018Q3 2nd (preliminary) release.