The U.S. trade deficit improved by nearly seven percent in September, declining from a record high the previous month.
The gap between what Americans sell abroad and what they buy was just over 64 billion dollars in September.
Analysts say lower costs for imported oil helped narrow the deficit.
But the politically sensitive trade deficit with China hit a record high.
Some U.S. businesses and members of Congress accuse China of unfairly manipulating its currency to give its goods a price advantage on world markets.
They blame China for the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Analysts say the issue is likely to get more attention in the future from labor-friendly Democrats, who won much greater power in Congress in Tuesday's elections.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.