The United States saw its trade deficit with China surge 17.6 percent in September to a historical high of US$35.6 billion, according to US Commerce Department data published Tuesday.
Imports from the Asian giant were up nearly 13 percent on the month at US$44.9 billion, while exports fell 3 percent to US$9.3 billion, the data showed.
The import and trade gap numbers, unadjusted for inflation and exchange rates, are the largest since the Commerce Department started collecting trade data with China in the early 1970s, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Most of the US$5 billion increase in imports was fueled by a US$3 billion surge in buying of cell phones, the report said.
In September, Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, both of which are assembled in China.
The US$35.6 billion trade gap with China represents more than 80 percent of the total US trade deficit of US$43.0 billion in the month.
The data is likely to revive calls from US lawmakers to penalize Beijing for keeping a lid on the value of the renminbi, the Journal noted.
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