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The U.S. trade deficit fell for the second straight month in February, and the politically sensitive deficit in the trade of goods with China narrowed.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the gap between the goods and services that the United States sells and what it buys from the rest of the world dropped 3.4% to $49.4 billion in February, the lowest since June. The deficit had slid 14.6% in January. Exports climbed 1.1% to $209.7 billion on a surge in shipments of civilian aircraft, passenger cars and medicine. Imports rose 0.2% to $259.1 billion.

The goods deficit with China dropped 28.2% to $24.8 billion: Exports to China rose 18.2% to $8.4 billion while imports from China fell 20.2% to $33.2 billion.

President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports in a fight over U.S. allegations that China steals U.S. technology and forces foreign firms to turn over trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market. China has retaliated by targeting $110 billion worth of American products.

 

TVA refueling America's newest nuclear reactor

The Tennessee Valley Authority is refueling America's newest nuclear reactor after its first production cycle of nearly 17 months of power generation.

The Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2 was shut down over the weekend for its first scheduled refueling and maintenance outage after the reactor generated more than 13.5 billion kilowatthours of electricity since its startup more than three years ago.

"Our work during the first outage allowed Watts Bar Unit 2 to generate safe, low-cost, carbon-free nuclear energy to reliably power daily life across the Tennessee Valley for 492 days," said Tony Williams, Watts Bar site vice president.

During most of the next month while the unit is refueled, TVA's staff at Watts Bar will be joined with another 900 contract and other TVA workers to perform nearly 20,000 activities, including loading new fuel assemblies, inspecting equipment and equipment maintenance and upgrades.

Unit 1 went through its scheduled outage and maintenance break in September.

 

Wisconsin to redo Foxconn incentives

Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday that he wants to renegotiate Wisconsin's nearly $3 billion contract with Foxconn Technology Group, saying it's "unrealistic" to think the company will employ 13,000 people as originally promised.

Evers told reporters that the state was working with Taiwan-based Foxconn to look at revising the original contract for the proposed facility to build liquid crystal display panels because it "deals with a situation that no longer exists."

President Donald Trump has touted the Foxconn project in Wisconsin as a sign of the return of manufacturing to the United States. It would be Foxconn's first manufacturing facility outside Asia, but skeptics have questioned the project that was announced more than a year ago.

Under terms of the original deal struck by Evers' predecessor Gov. Scott Walker, Foxconn could get more than $4 billion in state and local tax credits if it employs 13,000 people and invests $10 billion in the state.

That deal was roundly criticized by Democrats, including Evers, as being too favorable for Foxconn.

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