The size of the U.S. trade deficit was predicted.

The United States is likely to have a merchandise trade deficit this year of between $140 billion and $160 billion, with any improvement in future years coming only gradually, the Commerce Department said. The department said the value of the dollar, the debt problems of lesser-developed countries, continued U.S. dependence on foreign oil and a narrowing U.S. technological edge had combined to worsen the country's trading woes.

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