President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday to complain about the United States’ trade deficit with Mexico.
“Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough. Massive trade deficits & little help on the very weak border must change, NOW!” Trump tweeted.
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the U.S. had a goods trade deficit of $58 billion with Mexico in 2015 and a services trade surplus of $9.2 billion.
But journalist Simon Hedlin noted that the trade deficit didn't tell the whole story.
.@realDonaldTrump U.S. goods and services trade with Mexico totaled $583.6 billion in 2015. This is taking advantage how?— Simon Hedlin (@Simon Hedlin)1485523283.0
.@realDonaldTrump U.S. exports of services to Mexico were $30.8 billion in 2015. This is an increase of 200% since 1993 (before NAFTA).— Simon Hedlin (@Simon Hedlin)1485523447.0
.@realDonaldTrump Sales of services in Mexico by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $43.4 billion in 2013 (latest data available).— Simon Hedlin (@Simon Hedlin)1485523555.0
.@realDonaldTrump Total U.S. exports to Mexico are up 468% from 1993 (before NAFTA).— Simon Hedlin (@Simon Hedlin)1485523725.0
Axios also noted that while NAFTA did increase the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico, it also led to a tripling of trade in general. "But the trade deficit is a lousy measure for any of this. More exports means more American jobs. You'd rather have $10 worth of exports and $15 worth of imports than $8 of both and no trade deficit," the website reported.