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China's export growth slowing amid trade spats


BEIJING, Oct 31 (Reuters): China's trade surplus is on track to almost triple this year to around $90 billion, but export growth will lose steam next year amid rising trade tensions, the government said.
"China's exports have maintained fast growth for four successive years and it's difficult to keep up such high growth due to the limitations of global markets and also trade protectionism," the Commerce Ministry's think-tank said in a report seen today.
China's exports and imports are expected to total $1.6 trillion in 2006, rising 15 per cent from this year, the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation said in its report.
Foreign complaints and curbs on trade affected $8.9 billion of exports in the first nine months of this year, it said.
The official Xinhua news agency said trade strains were behind a 10 per cent drop, to $2.46 billion, in the value of textile deals struck during the annual two-week Canton fair that ended at the weekend.
Orders for textile exports to the United States dropped 44 per cent from last year to $310 million.
Xinhua quoted the fair's spokesman, Xu Bing, as saying many manufacturers and purchasers were cautious about signing deals because China was still locked in talks with the United States over a formula to regulate China's surging textile exports.
The think-tank forecast China's exports would rise an annual 26 per cent this year to $745 billion while imports would rise 18 per cent to $655 billion, producing a trade surplus of about $90 billion.