The growth rate of China's trade surplus growth in January and February would probably slow in March and for the whole of the first quarter, according to Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.
Gao said at the Second China (Dalian) International Garment and Textile Fair in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, that the fast trade surplus growth in the first two months was due largely to the fact that the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday fell in late February this year.
Customs sources said in February that China's trade surplus reached 23.76 billion U.S. dollars, second only to the record 23.83 billion U.S. dollars in October last year. The monthly surplus was nearly 50 percent higher than the January level.
Analysts estimated strong incentives for exports remained in March, when the trade surplus would probably hit 21.1 billion U.S. dollars.
Gao also said due to successful resolutions of disputes on textile products with the European Union and the United States in 2005, external trade in garments and textiles managed to grow steadily in 2006.
Last year, customs sources said, China exported 143.99 billion U.S. dollars worth of garments and textiles, a growth of 25.2 percent, and imported 18.09 billion U.S. dollars worth, up 5.6 percent.
Gao predicted China would maintain an annual growth rate of 20 to 30 percent in textile exports.
But there were some negative factors, analysts pointed out.
The U.S. government filed a complaint with the WTO in early February, alleging that China was using export subsidies to help its companies, including those in the clothing sector, to compete in world markets.
The United States, the largest destination of China's textile and clothing exports, could impose a 27.5 percent tariff on China's clothing exports if negotiations and discussions on the issue failed to produce results.
Gao said the government would decide on whether to readjust export rebates on textile goods in accordance with market changes.