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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.

Go deeper

10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

12 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

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