Shipping containers at the port of Thessaloniki in Greece. Photo: Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The United States' trade deficit in 2017 hit $566 billion — the highest since since 2008 — spurred by a $375.2 billion gap with China and a $71.1 billion deficit with Mexico, reports the AP. President Trump has frequently singled out those two nations as he structured his "America First" economic policy around balanced trade deals, pondering tariffs against China and a renegotiation or termination of NAFTA.

Yes, but: A large trade deficit isn't necessarily a bad thing as it indicates that American consumer confidence is strong and willing to buy. Plus, there's good news for Trump's economic policies in the numbers as well: exports of goods in December were the highest since October 2014, per Reuters, indicating that a weak dollar is allowing more consumers abroad to purchase American-made products.

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Exclusive: Facebook cracks down on political content disguised as local news

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Facebook is rolling out a new policy that will prevent U.S. news publishers with "direct, meaningful ties" to political groups from claiming the news exemption within its political ads authorization process, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: Since the 2016 election, reporters and researchers have uncovered over 1,200 instances in which political groups use websites disguised as local news outlets to push their point of view to Americans.

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Nationalism and authoritarianism threaten the internet's universality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Governments around the world, prompted by nationalism, authoritarianism and other forces, are threatening the notion of a single, universal computer network — long the defining characteristic of the internet.

The big picture: Most countries want the internet and the economic and cultural benefits that come with it. Increasingly, though, they want to add their own rules — the internet with an asterisk, if you will. The question is just how many local rules you can make before the network's universality disappears.

The Democratic fight to shape Biden's climate policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Left-wing climate activists don't want Joe Biden getting advice from people with credentials they don't like — and they're increasingly going public with their campaign.

Why it matters: Nobody is confusing Biden with President Trump, and his climate platform goes much further than anything contemplated in the Obama years.