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The US trade deficit reached $621 billion (£472.5bn) in 2018, the highest level in 10 years.

It comes as a blow to President Donald Trump, who made it a key policy and target to reduce the gap.

Trump has consistently accused other countries of "ripping off" the US by imposing unnecessarily high tariffs on its products. He wants others to reduce tariffs and purchase more US products.

Exports on goods and services did rise by $148.9bn, but the amount the US spent on imports jumped $217.7bn.

The US has been locked in a trade war with China for months after Trump accused it of unfair practices. The two nations have since imposed more tariffs on each other's imports and threatened to add hundreds of billions worth more if they fail to come to an agreement on a trade deal.