(Wall Street Journal) Paul Kiernan March 6 2019 9:27 a.m WASHINGTONThe U.S. posted its widest monthly trade gap since 2008 in December and a record annual deficit in goods as sturdy economic growth underpinned higher spending by American consumers and businesses. The international trade deficit in goods and services widened 19 in December from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $59.8 billion the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a $57.3 billion gap. The shortfall grew last year despite President Trumps aim to reduce it. Over the course of 2018 Mr. Trump imposed tariffs on a range of goods that the U.S. imports from other countries particularly China in hopes of giving American producers a competitive edge. He publicly lambasted companies that outsourced jobs renegotiated pacts with major U.S. trade partners like Mexico Canada and South Korea and rankled longtime European allies by deeming their steel and aluminum exports a threat to national security.