The Commerce Department says 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 trade deficit in February was pushed down by a 1.1 per cent jump in exports to $209.7 billion.
Statistics Canada revised January's numbers to show a smaller deficit - by more than $1 billion - compared to its initial estimate of $4.2 billion.
The surprise narrowing in the trade gap reported by the Commerce Department on Wednesday also implied a much stronger pace of USA economic growth in the first quarter than initially anticipated at the start of the year. Imports rose 0.2% to $259.1 billion.
On the other side of the ledger, the country also exported less of just about everything that wasn't energy.
It added, "The 20.2 percent drop in imports from China was the main driver behind a almost 3.4 percent improvement in the US trade deficit to $49.4 billion in February".
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade shortfall would widen to $53.5 billion in February.
But even with the improvement, the trade deficit remains large and February's drop in Chinese imports could be temporary.
The U.S. trade deficit fell to an eight-month low in February as imports from China plunged, suggesting President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda was starting to bear fruit.
"Even if trade negotiations are resolved in such a way as to reduce the bilateral trade deficit with China, one of the Trump administration's stated goals, this would likely divert trade flows to other countries and have little impact on the top-line USA trade deficit", said Emily Mandel, an economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Trump has delayed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Exports of motor vehicles and parts increased by $0.6 billion in February.
Imports of industrial supplies and materials fell by $1.2 billion.
Sales of civilian aircraft can produce a monthly bump due to their scale, said Mary Lovely, a trade scholar at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Economists expect soybean exports to remain moderate because of an outbreak of swine flu that has reduced demand for soybean meal in China. Exports rose 1.1 percent while imports increased 0.2 percent. Capital goods imports rose slightly, pointing to slower business spending on equipment. An increase in domestic production has seen the United States become less dependent on foreign oil.
"Month-to-month variation in the trade deficit tells us little about the overall direction of the U.S. balance", she said.