American companies sold more computers, heavy machinery and telecommunications equipment in foreign markets in April, pushing exports to a record high. Imports declined, reflecting a big drop in auto imports from Japan caused by supply disruptions from the March earthquake and tsunami.
The Commerce Department says the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by 6.7 percent in April to $43.7 billion, the lowest level since December. Exports of U.S. goods and services rose 1.3 percent to a record $175.6 billion. Imports dipped 0.4 percent to $219.2 billion as imports from Japan plunged 25.5 percent.
The trade deficit with China jumped 19.4 percent to $21.6 billion, a development likely to increase pressure to crack down on Chinese trade practices seen by U.S. critics as unfair to American workers.